Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Guest Blogger: Greg Messel, Author of San Francisco Nights (Giveaway)

The wife of a wealthy San Francisco shipping magnate leads a secret life but someone is threatening to expose her.  Private eye Sam Slater and his wife and partner, Amelia, meet a mysterious woman in a large red hat during a train trip. The woman approaches him pleading for help because she‘s receiving anonymous notes quoting Bible verses which are becoming more and more ominous with each passing day. Her secrets have been discovered but by whom? What really happens behind closed doors in Room 505 in a swanky downtown hotel?

Sam is willing to take the case but Amelia warns that this woman is nothing but trouble. What does the woman really want? She’s been watching Sam for months and has a scheme to pull him into her world. 

Find out in the latest Sam Slater Mystery “San Francisco Nights” set in the fall of 1959. It’s the seventh book in the series but is a heart pounding stand alone whodunit. 

Watch the book trailer at YouTube.


ORDER YOUR COPY AT AMAZON


THE GLAMOR GIRLS OF THE SKY

There are no more stewardesses. 

The stewardesses on airlines morphed into flight attendants who are both males and females.  In the 21st Century flight attendants are the generally congenial people who walk down the aisle of the cramped plane offering you a small cup of soda, an even smaller bag of peanuts and tell you to stow your bags before take-off. 

The glamor of air travel has gradually disappeared and most passengers who navigate the extensive security at the airport and then squeeze into the seat on the plane, hardly consider it a glamorous experience. 

There is nothing wrong with flight attendants but they are a far cry from the glamor girls of the 1950s and 1960s who were called stewardesses. In Life magazine in 1957, there was a cover picture and featured article called “The Glamor Girls of the Sky.” 

The article details the rigorous training and selection process a woman must endure in the hopes of being chosen by the airline to be a stewardess.

The stewardesses of the 1950s and 1960s were something very close to movie stars and were widely admired by men as sex symbols and also were envied by women of the era.

Since she was a small girl Amelia Ryan Slater wanted to be a stewardess. As 1959 comes to a close in my new book San Francisco Nights, Amelia is no longer a stewardess and is a full time partner to her husband Sam in the private eye business. Why? Simple because she got married. The airlines want their “glamor girls” to be young and single.

I found an old job application for stewardesses from the 1950s. The requirements show how far we have come as a society and specifically how far women have come in their quest for equality in the work place.

Here is a laundry list of the requirements for stewardesses. They are:

Appearance: Height and weight proportionate
Attractive ("just below Hollywood") Standards
Gender: Female
Martial Status: Single, not divorced, separated or widowed.
Race: White
Age: 21 to 26 years old
Education: Registered nurse or two years of college
Height: Between 5 feet, 2 inches and 5 feet, 6 inches
Weight: 135 pounds maximum

I'm not sure how a woman is supposed to react to the qualification--"attractive, just below Hollywood standards." Is it a compliment or an insult to be told that you are "just below Hollywood standards?" It's astounding to think of a job application which would list the "qualifications" as "white, single, female, a range for height and of course, a weight restriction." The weight restriction was a sliding scale. For instance, the fictional character, Amelia Ryan is 5 feet four inches which means she could only weigh 125 pounds. If a stewardess shows up for a flight above weight, she is grounded.

The airlines wanted pretty young, single women to provide eye candy for their well-heeled passengers who flew--mostly affluent businessmen. Once a woman was over 26 or was married she was asked to resign.

That of course changed.

On February 11, 1958, Ruth Carol Taylor was hired by Mohawk Airlines and became the first African-American flight attendant in the United States. Ironically, despite her historic breaking of the racial restriction, Ruth's career ended just six months later due to another discriminatory barrier: she married and was dismissed by the airline. Incidentally, only stewardesses had the age restriction and the marriage ban. No other airline employees and especially pilots, were under the same type of requirements.

In my novel, stewardess Amelia Ryan falls in love with Sam Slater. They want to get married. But Amelia also loves her job. She has to choose between marriage and continuing as a stewardess. It was a great dilemma for her.

The glamorous world of stewardesses was one of the only avenues open to women in the 1950s to "see the world" and have a career. But it came at a great price. Sam and Amelia are secretly married in Fog City Strangler. They keep their union a secret so she can continue to work for the airline. 

In an earlier book in the mystery series--San Francisco Secrets--another challenge rears its head for Amelia--sexual harassment.  

A womanizing pilot, Mark Silver, is essentially Amelia’s boss and aggressively pursues her with unwanted sexual advances. There was no such term as “sexual harassment” in the 1950s.  As she tried to fight off  Capt. Silver, Amelia ponders the avenues she has to protect herself. There are basically none. 

Amelia wonders if she goes to the airline to complain about Silver if it will cause her problems, not the pilot. She fears that when she complains about the “sexual harassment,” the airline will just say that “boys will be boys.”  Stewardesses routinely had to evade grabby male passengers and the unwanted advances of pilots. 

Sam is upset by the groping of Amelia and complains about her work environment saying that if anyone is attracted to my girlfriend they can “take a sample.”

It would be several years before the stewardesses unionized and stood up to the airline. There was a series of lawsuits that knocked down the discriminatory barriers for women. 



Greg Messel has spent most of his adult life interested in writing, including a career in the newspaper business. He won a Wyoming Press Association Award as a columnist and has contributed articles to various magazines. Greg lives in Edmonds, Washington on Puget Sound with his wife Jean DeFond.

Greg has written ten novels. His latest is "San Francisco Nights" which is the seventh in a series of mysteries set in 1959 San Francisco. "Shadows In The Fog," "Fog City Strangler," "San Francisco Secrets," "Deadly Plunge" are sequels to the first book in the series "Last of the Seals." His other three novels are "Sunbreaks," "Expiation" and "The Illusion of Certainty." For a more detailed summary of Greg's novels go to www.gregmessel.com 


Greg is currently working on his eleventh novel "Dreams That Never Were" which is not part of the mystery series.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

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Greg Messel is giving away three of his books!!

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  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter.
  • This giveaway ends midnight September 29.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on September 30.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!
ENTER TO WIN!


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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

First Chapter Review: A Wanted Man by Robert Parker



I'm hosting a First Chapter Review of the crime thriller A Wanted Man by Robert Parker during his VBT with Pump Up Your Book.

BLURB: It’s down to fathers and fatherhood.

Ben Bracken, ex-soldier, has just got out of Strangeways.

Not by the front door.

With him, he has his ‘insurance policy’ – a bag of evidence that will guarantee his freedom, provided he can keep it safe – and he has money, carefully looked after by a friend, Jack Brooker.

Rejected by the army, disowned by his father, and any hopes of parenthood long since shattered, Ben has no anchors in his life.

No one to keep him steady. 

No one to stop his cause…

The plan: to wreak justice on the man who had put him in prison in the first place. 

Terry ‘The Turn-Up’ Masters, a nasty piece of work, whose crime organisation is based in London.

But before Ben can get started on his mission, another matter is brought to his attention: Jack’s father has been murdered and he will not rest until the killers are found.

Suddenly, Ben finds himself drawn in to helping Jack in his quest for revenge.

In the process, he descends into the fold of Manchester’s most notorious crime organisation – the Berg – the very people he wants to bring down…

This action-packed and fast-paced story will keep you turning the pages. Manchester is vividly portrayed as Ben races around the city seeking vengeance.

COVER: Perfect for the genre and gives the reader a sense of place. 

FIRST CHAPTER: After an intense prologue, the reader finds Ben Bracken out of prison and carrying around his "insurance policy" before he reconnects with people from his past. 

KEEP READING: My interest is definitely piqued. As I already said, the prologue is intense and sets a great stage for what is to come. Since Ben is alone throughout most of the first chapter its a lot of narration, but Parker keeps the reader's attention with his keen eye for details and the sprinkling of backstory that flows through the present day happenings. I want to read more of this one.


File Size: 2136 KB
Print Length: 245 pages
Publisher: Endeavour Press (May 14, 2017)
Publication Date: May 14, 2017
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
ASIN: B072333TYM

I received a free copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.


Friday, September 8, 2017

Book Trailer Blast: Don't Call Me Crazy! I'm Just in Love with God by Swiyyah Nadirah Woodard





Title:
DON’T CALL ME CRAZY! I’M JUST IN LOVE WITH GOD

Author: Swiyyah Woodard

Publisher: Swiyyah Productions, Inc.

Pages: 229

Genre: Inspirational / Motivational / Romance / Christian







BOOK
BLURB:


Because of God, nothing will stop Anika from marrying the love of her life, not even paranoid schizophrenia. You don’t want to miss this spiritual journey filled with inspiration and
power.
This book is insightful and perceptive. Inspired by a true story. Few people consider the God factor in mental health. Join Anika and journey with her as she receives revelations from God while on her  walk to overcome mental illness and naiveness towards religion. Required reading for high schools and colleges.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon
| Barnes
& Noble






     Anika begins to lose her mind. While continuing to stare at the television set, Anika sees a vision of Jesus. He appears to her in just as perfect form and image as the paintings on Mary’s wall. She then hears Jesus speak, “I am the son of God.” Then just as fast as he appears, he leaves her vision.
     “Did you see him? Did you see Jesus?” Anika turns and looks at her friends. Words
are stuck within their throats. "
Did you see him? Did you see Jesus?” Anika repeats once more.
     “Anika, you’re really scaring us. I thought you were Muslim?” Mary says.

Anika then feels as if someone was controlling her thoughts. “Forgive yourself.”  

She then begins to ramble, “Atoms are neither created nor destroyed. There was always an existence. You have to take baby steps to understand how this existence works, where we came from, how it started. Don’t jump from A to Z. No, you must go from A to C. Take a break. It has been
painted. First there was nothing; it was blackness, pitch blackness. There was first the black hole. A plumber can understand the black hole. There was a white light. The creator is positive energy. We all have a little bit of positive energy. A person of positivity can change your life without saying a
word. We try to increase positive energy which is the same as increasing spiritually. Once we are of that same positivity as the creator, we become one with him. Only a few souls have reached this level of existence. The rest of us are growing spiritually so we can reach that level.“

 
It appears to Anika that she is making sense as she began to explain
herself, justifying her words.


“Positive times positive equals positive. Negative times positive equals negative. Therefore, if you have any negativity in you, you cannot become one with positivity.”


“The creator is all positive energy. Negative times negative equals positive. If you learn from loads of negativity you will learn from your mistakes and become all positive. It’s mathematics. Everything stems from mathematics. Less than a cup of wine is what I need to rest. Don’t want to scare away this beautiful spirit controlling my thoughts.” While holding the sides of her head trying to rid her racing thoughts, she runs into the kitchen and pours herself a cup of wine. She then thinks, “no one will ever have to go through what I went through again!”

Anika takes a look at her past to see how in the world she got to this point in her life.





Swiyyah Nadirah Woodard was selected as a Bay News 9 Everyday Hero, which was seen by two million viewers, for publishing a book and teaching the community about her own battle with mental
illness. She was hospitalized six times and misdiagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Her first book, Don't Call Me Crazy! I'm Just in Love, became required and suggested reading in Reading, Writing, Abnormal Psychology, and General Psychology classes at a four year Institution. 

She was born in the housing projects of
Saint Petersburg, FL. Her father left when she was three so
she was raised in a single parent home. At the age of five she was 
molested by her eight year old brother. She later started school, she had slurred speech and didn't care to make friends so she was bullied by her peers. At the age of eight, she wanted to kill herself because a girl wanted to fight her. She looked into the medicine cabinet for medication. Thank God, she couldn't find any.

As a teenager she was physically abused by her stepdad. The abuse was so severe, God blocked it from her memory. At the age of 20, the brother that molested her committed suicide, which was devastating to her and the entire family. Swiyyah has always viewed herself as normal. She never received any disciplinary problems in school, made good grades, and received her BA degree in Psychology from the
University of South Florida.


When the doctors misdiagnosed her with the most debilitating mental disorder known in mental health, paranoid schizophrenia, she denied it. She questioned their expertise. She refused to take medication. She was then hospitalized six times. Her family took a picture of her at her worst and that's when she knew she needed help. She has been taking medication now for ten years without a relapse.

She is now a published author and a National Inspirational Speaker. Her first book is entitled, “Don't Call Me Crazy! I'm just in Love,” and is inspired by her true story. 

She was raised Muslim and the revelations she received from God and placed in her books, didn't make any since until she meet her Christian husband 14 years after her first relapse. 

Please contact Swiyyah to book speaking engagements, life coaching, author and speaker coaching, radio and TV interviews, or to purchase her books at 727-495-3217, Swiyyah@swiyyah.com.


WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

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Thursday, September 7, 2017

Interview with Owen Sypher, Author of The Song of Solomon Revealed


Owen L. Sypher is a devoted servant of the Lord. At eleven years old, he started a spiritual journey to discover and understand God and his word. In 1979, he received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Since then, he has had fellowships with the same group. Song of Solomon is his first book.
You can visit his website at http://www.sypherbooks.com.   

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in the wonderful city of Nampa Idaho.

When did you begin writing?

I started writing seriously about 3 years ago, before that it was just notes and things like that.

What is this book about?

This book is about the Love relationship between Jesus and his bride. The bride is the 144,000 people found in Revelations 14:1-5.

What inspired you to write it?

I felt inspired of God to do some lessons on the subject of the Song of Solomon for our local church services. One person told me they wanted to only hear things that was preached from a former pastor who had passed on so I wasn’t going to teach it anymore but I felt like God had given me so much understanding on this book that I wanted to record this information for myself in case I wanted to use it in the future.

There was so much information that I started to joke about how it was becoming a small book and after a couple of months I decide why not make a book with this information.

How is it similar to other books in its genre? How is it different?

I am not sure how it is similar to other books except that it is based on the Bible.

How is it different?

For one thing I wrote it like I would like to read a book. I put the whole chapter in first and then I used whole verses to explain what I was talking about. I hate it when I read a book and they used just a piece of the scripture and then you have to find a Bible to get the context of what is being said.
The second thing is I approached this more from a spiritual aspect instead of a natural aspect.
The third thing is that I explain the meaning of this book by using the scriptures to explain types and shadows and spiritual applications.

What is the most important thing readers can learn from your book?

This is a very good question. I think the most important thing a person can take away from my book is that not only is Jesus going to have a bride but we can learn some of the things we need to know in order to qualify to be a part of that bride, and that God will also help us with the supplying of those things that we need to qualify.

Where can readers purchase a copy?

What is up next for you?

Next I am thinking about writing a book about the wisdom of Solomon which will be dealing with the books of Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, and some of the Song of Solomon. I have also thought about writing a book on explaining what the bride is and what scriptures we use to show the bride.

Is there anything you would like to add?

I believe this is a very good book and will inspire the reader to seek more of God and his word and hopefully would cause them to have a desire to be a part of Jesus bride.




Monday, September 4, 2017

Book Review: The Competition by Donna Russo Morin

Da Vinci's Disciples are back in this thrilling sequel to Portrait of a Conspiracy. In The Competition, six female artists under the tutelage of Leonardo da Vinci decide to bid for a commission to paint a fresco in Santo Spirito and win. Soon these artists find themselves in physical danger from the people of Florence and other artists who believe women should not be holding such positions of power. But they might find allies in the unlikeliest of places.

While The Competition is a stand-alone novel, I would highly suggest reading the first book in the series so you have a solid background of who these women are and how Da Vinci's Disciples was formed. With this second book in the series, Morin has certainly hit her stride. Now that the foundation has been laid, her talented pen can dig deeper into the lives of Viviana, Isabetta, Fiammetta, Mattea and the other members. The reader watches their roles within the group become more defined and the risk of what they are undertaking increase. This is a novel of strong women before their time seeking to change the perception of an entire city. 

If you enjoy historical fiction, romance, superb character development, and stories where characters seek to make a difference in their world, you need to read the Da Vinci's Disciples series by Donna Russo Morin. I personally can't wait for the conclusion to this thrilling trilogy.

See my review of the first book here.

Series: Da Vinci's Disciples (Book 2)
Paperback: 268 pages
Publisher: Diversion Publishing (April 25, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1682308065
ISBN-13: 978-1682308066

I received a paperback copy of this book from the author. This reviews contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.


Sunday, September 3, 2017

Book Review: Poetry and Ponderings by Diamante Lavendar

Poetry and Ponderings by Diamante Lavendar might just be the most powerful collection you'll ever read. Journaling her way through abuse and eventual healing, Lavendar holds back nothing: pain, anger, hate, sadness, acceptance, revelation, peace, healing...

Meant to encourage and inspire other victims of abuse, this captivating collection of Christian poetry and prose will make you cry, will make you think, and will stay with you long after you've turned the last page. You will want to hold onto this one and read it again.


Paperback: 138 pages
Publisher: Written Dreams Publishing (April 26, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0998167398
ISBN-13: 978-0998167398

Purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, BAM, Indiebound

Diamante Lavendar has been in love with reading since she was a child. Diamante believes that everyone should try to leave their own positive mark on the world, and to make it a better place for all. Writing is her way of leaving her mark—one story at a time. She began writing in college and has published poetry in anthologies over the years. Most of her writing is very personal and stems from her own experiences, and those of her family and friends. She writes to encourage hope and possibility to those who read her stories. To learn more about Diamante Lavendar and her books, please visit her website at: www.diamantelavendar.com.

I received a copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinion, which I have not been compensated for in any way.



Thursday, August 31, 2017

Book Spotlight: What I Gain Through His Pain by Nicole Benoit-Roy

Write Now Literary is pleased to announce What I Gain Through His Pain, by Nicole Benoit-Roy. Virtual Book Tour. August 1-31, 2018. @wnlbooktours @nicoleroy52
ASIN: B0746QSMG3
Genre: Christian Non-fiction

In a society filled with easy Christianity and cheap grace, Nicole Benoit-Roy takes her relationship with Christ to a much deeper level. Since becoming a Christian, she has been learning about her newfound Savior, Jesus Christ. She is an educator who vows to be a student for as long as she lives. The more she learns about the cross of Christ, the more she realizes the importance of it in her life. As she meditates on His suffering, she concludes that His pain is the reason for every blessing in her life. In this book, "What I Gain Through His Pain," she shares her story about the benefit of the cross as she expresses gratefulness for His pain.

Excerpt


Something Fishy

Daddy practiced Voodoo, but even as a child I considered it foolish. During summer vacations in Haiti, the family expected my sister, my next younger brother and me to go to Lèogane. As the summer months drew to a close, my father lined up every child in the house to bathe us with a special Voodoo water made with crushed leaves.

As I got older (though not much older), I grew to detest the act and so I decided not to go on vacation anymore. I thought it ridiculous to allow myself to be bathed with stinky water. I never believed in the Voodoo stuff either. I had a good sense of who I was since early childhood. I knew God made me, and no evil could harm me (Now I know evil can’t touch me without His permission). That knowledge made me very bold and never afraid of any Voodoo stuff. My father had a special table with a white small washbasin and other Voodoo items on it. No one was supposed to touch them. However, on many occasions, I pretended to be cleaning just to touch and rearrange everything on that table. I held no fear. I just knew they lacked any authority over me. It's weird though, no one told me that Voodoo held no potency. It was always a gut feeling. I was always very bold about expressing my belief every chance I got.

My father use to hold Voodoo ceremonies where kids in the house were expected to eat out of special wooden bowls. All that I shunned eventually. Because my brother Kesnel and sister Carol were twins, the ceremony held every year honored the twins (a Voodoo ritual) even though Carol died as a baby. Those were the kinds of things that made no sense to me, leading me to refuse to take part in them as soon as I grew old enough to say no. With me so hardheaded and strong-willed, no one in my family could force me to take part once I said no. Not even my father.

On one occasion, something terrible happened in my family, causing my father to be the focus of suspicion. I felt his pain afterward. He needed so much to have someone on his side. Unfortunately, not even his favorite little girl was willing to be that someone.

In desperation, one evening in Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, he pulled me aside. In a private conversation, he explained his own version of the incident after he visited my mother in the U.S. in 1982 for the first time.

He said, “Nicole, I know you’re getting older. You can understand what I’m about to tell you.”
I was 14 years old then.

“When I went to New York,” he continued, “I swear I did not take your mother’s soiled panties. It’s only after I came back to Haiti I saw them in my suitcase. I swear I did not take them.”

I listened attentively, but my eyes stared at the cement floor as we sat on the edge of my bed.
“You believe me, don’t you, my girl.” He held onto my left arm as if begging me to say yes.
I’d heard the rumor that he wanted to use her underpants to hurt my mother through witchcraft so often that I’d already made up my mind of his guilt.

My father returned to Haiti finding himself in an awkward predicament. At that age, I was naïve and awfully honest.

“Well, I can’t say whether you did it or not. I wasn’t there. You’re the only one who knows if you did it or not,” I said.

Suddenly, the look he gave me told me he wanted another answer. His eyes turned red. His pain turned into hatred.

I knew then I was not his favorite little girl anymore and I would pay.

In retrospect, I realized I could have answered differently had I known better. I still feel his pain even now as I write about it.

As soon as my mother found out her panties were missing, she demanded that my father purchase a plane ticket and return them to her.

When he did, she burned them in his presence.

My father continued to make his regular weekly visits from Lèogâne bringing us fresh produce every time. Our relationship was never the same, however. At times, I’d purposely stayed away to avoid seeing him altogether, not showing up until after he left. He was the enemy of the family. He knew it. That made him very uncomfortable and angry.

During one of his visits, he threatened to beat me because I did not greet him. Of course I put up a fight. He tried to pin me to the ground. I escaped from his grip and ran to a nearby stony hill. I picked up a stone and made the motion to throw it at him, but an invisible power stopped me. I knew Who kept me from flinging the stone, and I’m glad He did. Deep down inside I really loved my father. I believed that he gave me so much love and attention that he made it possible to never feel insecure about myself.

During my college years at Stony Brook University in New York, our father-daughter relationship remained broken. I recall lying on the bed in my dorm room reminiscing about my childhood. My entire family lived in the U.S. by then. My mom and dad separated shortly after the panties incident, although they waited to divorce until eleven years later. I finally realized the pain my father must have gone through to have his whole family against him, and the pain he continued to feel every time he and I met.

“Look at Nicole, the daughter I loved so much. Now, she can’t even talk to me,” he sometimes said.
At that time, we were on greeting terms. As I empathized with my father, I decided to put an end to our broken relationship. I picked up the phone.

“Hello,” he said.

“Hi, daddy, how are you?” It felt uncomfortable saying “daddy” but I also realized that doing the right thing was never easy.

“Who’s this?” he asked.

“This is Nicole,” I said. “I just call to tell you that I love you. Bye.”

“Ok,” he said.

I hung up the phone, feeling a burden lift from my chest.

For the first time I began to understand the power of forgiveness. I still had a long way to go.
Our relationship continued to improve after that phone call. My father is now ninety-two years old, and I love him as if nothing ever happened between us.

The Bible says in Deuteronomy 5:16, “Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you.” (NLT). I desire to obey God's Word. Through this experience, I learned that making mistakes is what we (humans) specialize in the most. What’s essential is that we learn from them.

Purchase Links
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2uZxx4P

Amazon: ebook: https://goo.gl/wRdrXS




Nicole is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in educational leadership at Andrews University. She directs the Children Ministries Department at her church. She works as a special education teacher by day, a literature evangelist by night, and writes during the wee hours of the night. She enjoys reading and playing the piano (beginner). Nicole struggled with college writing, which lead her to eventually drop out. For this reason, one of her many goals in life is to become a best-selling author to the glory of God. Nicole and her husband, Roosevelt Roy, have been married since 1994, and are the proud parents of a handsome brown-eyed son, Nolan. They currently live in Brooklyn, New York.

Connect Socially
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/identityinjesuschrist/

Tour hosted by Write Now Literary www.wnlbooktours.com