Friday, August 27, 2021

My Story BEFORE The Story ~ Sgt. Griff McKay ~ in ~ SOWN IN PEACE ~ by Joy Avery Melville ~ HAPPY BIRTHDAY SIP!

Joy says my story is celebrating a birthday. It's hard to imagine it's been a year since my heart was opened to the public and readers.

I'm Sgt. Griffin (Griff) McKay. I'm a retired Army guy. I worked as a Military Dog Handler/Trainer of other MWD handlers. When it came time to reenlist, I had a struggle over the decision for the first time in my career. You see, I saw men come home wounded while I was stationed in Texas, and the dogs they'd been trained with were turned over to another soldier. Broke my heart when I saw how callous the Army was at severing ties, the bonds, that were stronger due to the life or death situations over there in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

I became an angry soldier. I could sense the damage I might do in working with the men and dogs who were being prepared to go serve in ways that could mean crippling or death to one or both of the team. It became clear to me I'd have to resign my position. Since working with those dogs and the men who were to handle them was all I was really trained for, I chose to retire and go home. To what? I could not imagine myself in a regular day-job. 

I'd become less than pleased with God during the building up of my anger. I contacted a realtor in the area of Michigan where my sister, JJ Russell, lived, and I asked him to find me a property. A secluded, out of the way place. I planned to move there and pretty much crawl away and live as private a life as I could. 

Funny, isn't it, how God moves us, sometimes without us realizing He's putting things in place for His glory and our good? Even when we are displeased with Him or disappointed in what He's allowed in our lives and those we care about.

Months later...

I came to Three Rivers and to the property I'd purchased without having stepped foot on the land.  I was absolutely thrilled by the amount of privacy it granted me... seclusion at its best, yet easily within five miles of Three Rivers
One afternoon, I was outside, ready to walk down to the very large pond across the driveway and away from the roomy cabin. As I stepped onto the gravel, something drew my attention. A young golden retriever was slowly moving my direction, working its way up the long, curving drive, dragging a large-linked chain hooked to its collar. Matted and dirty, the poor thing appeared to have been abused. As I approached the dog, it cowered and lay down, covering its muzzle with both front paws. My heart broke for the animal.

Now, you've got to realize I was all done with dogs. Too many memories had plagued me, since I'd worked with multiple breeds as an Army Military Dog Handler. Here I was, faced with a dog in need of care... urgent care... and I had no idea who to call. So, I phoned my sister, who worked in town and had for some time. As soon as I told her about this shaggy, miserable dog, she laughed. That's right! Laughed at the irony of it all.

I want you to read SOWN IN PEACE to find out what I decided to do with that poor canine and how God used it to bring me into Joy's novel. I'm so glad she was led to include me.. let's just say, I benefitted in many ways for her having done so. 

Oh, and by the way, Joy is gifting a signed copy to someone who leaves a comment below - don't miss this opportunity to find out what she did with me in Sown In Peace!

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My Story Title:   Sown In Peace

My Story Genre:  Christian Contemporary 
                                Women's Fiction

My Story Released:  August 27, 2020 
                                    Happy Birthday

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The Author of My Story:   Joy Avery Melville

Fully intending to write Historical Romance—had in fact— she had no plans to deviate from that. God had something else in mind for that ‘call’ He’d made on her life back in 1967. A mere eighth grader at the time, she had no clue about the topics she’d be drawn to write about.

Surrendering to the genre God placed on her heart has given Joy new insight into the hearts and lives of those who too often hurt in silence.

The settings of Joy’s books are near where she lives in Schoolcraft, Michigan with her husband of nearly 48 years and their almost 3-year-old Yorkie, Is-A-Bella Bindi, (Is-a-beautiful little girl) who thinks she’s a much larger breed with tomboy tendencies.

Joy loves to hear from readers and will respond!

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Our Stories BEFORE The Story ~ Cooper Callahan and KC Briggs ~ in ~ JUSTICE AT DAWN ~ by ~ Valerie Massey Goree

Cooper Callahan:

I just returned to San Diego after a successful assignment to return a missing teenager to his anxious parents in Florida. Those outcomes are always gratifying, but I’ve had my share of failures, too. You see, I’ve been an agent with the International Retrieval Organization for fifteen years. We don’t always locate the missing person, or free the hostage, or keep the witness safe, but we always give one hundred percent to every case.

Over the years, I’ve fulfilled many roles in the organization. For the past five years I’ve been the chief training officer for recruits. Many rookies these days enter the program thinking they’re going to be the top dog in no time. It’s my job to teach them what an agent needs to know, but I also gauge whether or not they’ll make the cut. Being an effective agent is more than completing course work. Agents must have the inner strength to forge ahead with the assignment no matter what is happening around them or to them. They must be intuitive, trust their partners, and trust their instincts. I can’t teach them that.

I’m sitting at my desk in the office, reading the application form from the newest recruit, a woman named Kitty Claire Briggs who has an appointment with me in fifteen minutes. She seems to have all the necessary prerequisites. The boss had slapped a sticky note on her application. Hold on to your cap. This rookie will surprise you. I wonder what he meant. Oh, well. I’ll soon find out.

I open my desk drawer and remove a file where I keep a list of all the agents I’ve trained thus far. During the time I’ve been in charge of the program, I’ve updated the coursework and hands on training assignments. I’m proud of the improvements I implemented. I rock in my chair and think back to my rookie period. As a former small town sheriff with a college degree in criminal justice, I thought I was going to sail through the course and impress the shirts off those in charge. Not quite. I did have it easier than some, but I had a lot to learn too.

Those early years were hard but fun. Until the accident. Since then, I’ve had to remind myself numerous times why I left the sheriff’s department to become an agent. Unique cases. Extensive resources. Superior technology.

I shift in my chair and check my watch. The recruit will be here any minute. Compose yourself, Cooper. If you’re going to ask her why she wants to work for IRO, remember your reasons for applying.

After taking in a deep breath, I open her folder. A knock on my door. I stand and call, “Come in.”


Whew. I can’t believe I’m this nervous. Applying to be an agent with IRO was a risk for me. Sure, I want to help people in traumatic situations, but what if the bigwigs discover the real reason I applied? I’ll have to be extra careful during my training and later, if I make it. Who are you kidding, girl? Of course you’ll make it. Top of your class in any physical course you took. You hit the target every time you fire a gun. You’ve overcome so much in your short life. You’ll be an agent before you know it.

I’m parked outside the office building, and although I have an alarm set on my phone, I keep an eye on the dashboard clock. I sip my iced tea then set the bottle in the cup holder and check the vanity mirror. Why, I’m not sure. Habit I suppose. I don’t wear lipstick and my hair is, well, I’m bald. Shave my head every morning. My parents often ask me why I continue although I’m cancer free, and I have no ready answer except maybe in rebellion. Not toward them. Never. I love them as if they were my birthparents. I might be a rebel at heart, though. As a kid, I always wanted to do everything contrary to what was expected. Learn to cook. Nope. I chose to fix our bicycles with my brothers. Help Mother with her scrapbooks. Not when the boys were building a tree fort.

A bus rumbles by the parking lot. I look in the mirror again. Maybe I should dab on some lipstick. Or blush. My honey-toned skin is flawless, for which I’m grateful, but I need more color. I pinch my cheeks. Better. I wipe at a smudge of mascara under one eye. Gray eyes. Unusual for sure. Did my birthmother have gray eyes? I knew she was Caucasian, but that’s all.

The feeling of abandonment is never far from my soul. I clutch the jacket over my heart and blow out a breath. If I become an agent, I will find out what happened to her.

The alarm beeps. Time to go. I climb out of my car and smooth my skirt. Shoulders back, I stride toward the office door. Watch out world, here comes the next IRO agent.

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Valerie is offering a print or ebook copy (winner's choice)
to a US resident or e-book to winner outside the US
Drawing will be held Wednesday evening - August 11, 2021

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Our Story Title:   JUSTICE AT DAWN

Our Story Genre:  Inspirational Romantic Suspense

Our Story Releases:   July 30, 2021

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The Author of Our Story:    Valerie Massey Goree

American Christian Fiction Writers' Genesis Award winner Valerie Massey Goree resides on the beautiful Olympic Peninsula of Washington State.

After serving as missionaries in her home country of Zimbabwe and raising two children, Glenn and Valerie moved to Texas. She worked in the public school system for many years, focusing on students with special needs. Now retired in Washington, Valerie spends her time writing, and spoiling her grandchildren.

Novels include: Deceive Me Once; Colors of Deceit; The Stolen Lives Trilogy, Weep in the Night; Day of Reckoning; and Justice at Dawn. Set in Australia, Forever Under Blue Skies, is now available from Amazon.

Valerie loves to hear from her readers.

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  Get Connected with our author:

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