A Journey from Careerist to Adoptive Father to a Real Husband and Dad
by Patrick R. Riccards
When Riccards suddenly (and inexplicably) loses his job, he is devastated, but it forces him to take stock of his life – to re-examine his relationships, his perceptions of himself, his fears, his values, and dreams for the future.
Dadprovement is his raw and honest account of recognizing that he wasn’t the great father or husband he thought he was, that he had simply been going through the motions. Starting with the adoption of two children from Guatemala, Riccards writes of the vast obstacles faced in the international adoption process, the challenges of building a family, and the rollercoaster ride that follows as one tries to balance career and home life.
Part adoption story, part career memoir, and a complete telling of one man’s path to personal and professional redemption, Dadprovement details some of the difficult truths to inspire and help other parents wrestling with how to live up to society’s expectations when it comes to career and family.
About the Author
Patrick R. Riccards is a nationally recognized strategist, writer, and public speaker on school improvement and education reform issues. A noted education agitator, he is the author of the award-winning Eduflack blog. Named PR News’ Public Affairs Professional of the Year in 2013 and Bulldog Reporter’s Not-for-Profit Communicator of the Year in 2011, Riccards is a contributing author to Why Kids Still Can’t Read: Challenging the Status Quo in Education and PR News’ Media Training Guidebook: Volume 2. He is also the author or editor of a dozen major education policy reports. Most importantly, Riccards has been married to Jennifer since 2001 and is the proud father of Michael and Anna. Today, his most important jobs are those of husband and dad. Visit him online at www.dadprovement.com.
25 Email Tricks for Busy Professionals
From the SaneBox Team
Increase productivity by efficiently managing your inbox!
It’s hard to believe when the movie “You’ve Got Mail” came out in 1998, people actually looked forward to opening their inbox. According to a recent McKinsey study, today an average employee spends 13 hours per week reading and replying to emails – a completely reactive activity, which is not part of anyone’s job description unless you’re in email marketing or sales.
At SaneBox, we’ve spent the last 4 years helping professionals fall in love with their email again. We’ve done lots of research, talked to thousands of customers and compiled a list of tricks to help you get to Inbox Zero every day.
With this ebook, we aim to help you:
• Streamline your email process
• Avoid common, time-consuming mistakes
• Communicate more effectively over email
• Become an Inbox Zero Superhero
Follow the steps in this book, and we promise you’ll wish you got more email, just like back in 1998!
“ALL THE LITTLE THINGS”
BOOK 3 IN THE HOLIDAY ROMANCES SERIES
by Portia Perotti
FREE July 18 & 19
The eagerly awaited new book in popular author Portia Perotti’s’ contemporary romance Holiday Romances series.
Olivia Beechum has spent most of her life trying in vain to be important. From the ballet classes and beauty pageants of her youth to please her mother to the years of college where she learned graphic design to make her father proud, she has done everything she knows how to do to make herself mean something to someone … but it all goes down the drain when she loses her “acceptable” job and her “acceptable” apartment and is forced into menial labor as a bookstore clerk at Manning’s Manuscripts & More … a local book shop run by the most gorgeous man alive.
Introduced through their mutual friend, Emily, Olivia becomes the employee and flat-mate of Parker Manning … the most amazing guy ever, if Emily is to be believed. But the truth is, Parker has some issues of his own.
All his life, Parker has had difficulty coming to terms with people choosing to walk out on him. With the exception of his parents, whose deaths were no fault of their own, every single person he has ever cared about has left him. And now, here is Olivia … beautiful and witty and fun … living right under his roof, working her way into his heart. But Parker knows it’s only a matter of time until she, too, will leave him.
Despite knowing the good things he feels with Olivia can’t last, Parker selflessly opens both heart and home to her while hoping against hope he can find a way to convince her to stay. But when an unexpected phone call forces Olivia to make one of the biggest decisions of her life, will the little things be enough to prove that with Parker is where she truly belongs? Or will the lure of being accepted at last get in the way of true happiness for them both?
˃˃˃ Don’t miss any of the addictive Holiday Romances novellas! A Ghost of a Chance, and the 12 Charms of Christmas are available now!
Interview with Glory S. Davis
Sometimes I Look at Sinners:
A Collection of Short Stories
Glory you have had an amazing career of over 43 years as an educator. During any of that time did you consider any writing projects?
Yes, off course. I was an English and speech teacher in secondary school. I wrote many skits, plays, and speeches for students. But, I was too busy to do anything professional.
When did you realize that there was a writer in you yearning to express herself?
Near the end of my career, I attended the South Mississippi Writing Project Summer Institute at the University of Southern Mississippi. Because I was complimented and encouraged, I caught the bug there and decided that whenever I got the chance, I would try my hand at it. After retiring, I was so bored that I started writing meditations. From there, I wrote eight stories which I published.
Yes, it is.
What was your inspiration to write this book?
Many people look at America and worry about the economy; I, however, looked at America and worried about man’s separation for God and his propensity to sin. I thought that I would try to do something to put America back on the course toward being the religious country that it was in the beginning… for which it was founded.
Tell us what readers can expect to find in:
Sometimes I Look at Sinners: A Collection of Short Stories.
My readers can expect to fine eight delightful stories with religious themes. They can also expect to learn or be reminded of religious truths about honesty, dying, lost hope, deception, fornication, and many other forms of sin.
What do you hope will be the impact on readers after they read your short stories?
I hope that they will find the lessons presented in a funny and entertaining way. However, I want the readers to take the stories seriously, to recognize and to internalize each of the themes. It is my wish that my stories win souls for Christ.
Do you have your next writing project in the works?
If so, can you give us any hints of what comes next?
I have completed a book of meditations, Outside the Gates of Heaven, which I plan to publish by the end of this year. I have also completed a self-help book, Escape for Mothers of Prisoners. I plan to publish it soon after my second book. After those books are published, I am going to write sequels to several of my stories.
What advice would you give to other writers who are in a sense “waiting to retire” to pursue their writing passions?
I would advise them to read, read, read and read some more. It is also helpful to keep a journal, not only a reflective one, but one in which they record descriptions of people, places, and interesting conversations. The journal will be very helpful, especially when writing fiction. Lastly, I would advise them to learn the business of publishing and of promoting books.
In 1964, just as the Vietnam War is launching America into the horror of death and destruction, Airman Austin Mars is shanghaied in Saigon by a crooked colonel and forced to fly illicit cargo. After fighting his way out of a bloody attack at a remote jungle airstrip, Mars realizes he will be killed next time if he doesn’t escape the colonel’s vicious clutches. That’s when he meets an exotic young woman with a plan to free him and possibly make them both rich if he can stay alive. But it means taking the kind of impossible chances found only in the darkest nightmares.
Meet the Author: Tom Myers
I used the GI Bill to graduate from university with a degree in English and History.
Following graduation, and as always looking for excitement, I moved to Tehran, Iran to work as an analyst focused on the Middle East. When the Shah of Iran’s flag started to droop, I returned to the United States to find employment with a major international air carrier. That led to much more travel and enough excitement to satisfy me.
Interview with Steve Austin -
Author, Advocate, Activist
The Grace is Messy Project and The Fight Against Sex Trafficking
Steve…..your story is so compelling and what you are now doing to impact the lives of others is amazing. I was hoping we could start by having you share with us first…..what was the tragic experience that happened to you as a child?
As a four-year-old, I was molested by the teenage boy from across the street. There is such a stigma that comes with being molested and the humiliation that followed as I grew up and more and more memories of that day flooded back to me. It’s certainly not something you want others to know as a teenage boy. Thankfully because of God’s grace and emotional healing, I am able to talk about it and help others talk through their pain.
What other experiences in your childhood are sources of inspiration to you today?
My Mom’s sister, Missy, who was one of my favorite people on the planet, committed suicide when I was about thirteen and it shook our family. She was the upbeat one, the funny one, and the one who always seemed genuinely interested in spending time with me. I was rocked to the core and I still miss her very much to this day. She left two teenage girls (my cousins) behind, and I see the ripple effect that her decision has had even 17 years later. Through each of my experiences, it is my prayer that God would use my mess as a message and bring Hope to others.
As a young adult you attempted suicide and thankfully did not succeed. How did your life and perspective change after that experience?
Getting to the place where you’re willing to end it all and take your own life carries with it a great amount of heaviness, but waking up and realizing you’re still here…that’s a whole new issue. My boss (and dear friend), Sue, has made a statement to me so many times that it has now become my own mantra of sorts, “You have choices.” For me, as a sign language interpreter, I have word choices, ethical choices, business choices, and so on; as a human being, I have even more choices.
What were some of the new choices that were revealed to you?
Waking up in ICU, temporarily paralyzed, at rock bottom mentally and emotionally, and being TICKED to be alive left me with some new choices:
• I can suffer through ICU, get well enough to be transferred to the psych ward, and as soon as I get out, go find a gun. Yes, that was my first thought.
• I can leave my wife, family and friends, and tell no one where I am going. I can start a new life. (Not an ideal choice, but these ARE choices that I could make, whether I should or not.)
• I can lie. I can tell everyone that it was a big medicinal mess-up and act like everything is fine.
• I can decide to change my life completely and get well.
I decided to get well.
Here are some of the things I did to make that happen:
1. I admitted that I tried to take my own life and that I did not want to be here (alive).
2. I agreed to go into counseling and get serious help.
3. I agreed that my marriage also needed major work and began marriage counseling as soon as I was home. (Best decision I ever made.)
How has counseling helped you and how has your life changed since then?
First, I have recognized that I am on a journey, and that final destination won’t be reached until God calls me Home. Hopefully that will be many, many years from now. I’ve learned that I am not perfect and that perfection isn’t even the GOAL. It was a heck of a blow for me, but I finally have accepted the fact that I was born into sin, that this World is a mess, and that I am just one tiny piece of a very large puzzle. Recognizing and accepting those things have given me a new mindset. Now that my perspective has changed, I am also seeking to have a completely new mind.
True humility comes when a person recognizes that our lives have been atoned for with the death and resurrection of Christ. On that Cross, Jesus died for us and as us, and we certainly didn’t deserve his sacrifice. That realization that we are receiving daily, undeserved, unending grace causes genuine humility. Thanks to this, I am coming out of a lifelong pattern of shame, based on what religion expected of me and I am beginning to walk with my head held high, realizing that my Abba is the King of all Kings and that, as His child, I can walk in freedom and confidence in who He has made me and how much He loves me.
I have daily choices (and so you do):
• I can choose joy for the day, or to stay depressed and in bed.
• I can choose to love myself or live in shame.
• I can choose to enjoy the journey or stress myself over the final destination.
• I can choose to see God in everything or feel like He has abandoned me forever.
• I can choose to seek the Truth of God’s word or to believe the lies that are still whispered in my ear.
• I can choose to respond when someone angers, offends, or hurts me or I can “fake it to make it”.
• I can choose to be honest with myself and others about my struggles or internalize everything and end up where I was a year ago.
Your current mission is a bold and impactful one. Tell us about your upcoming book: Grace is Messy. What is the book about and what can readers expect from it?
After reading Steve Austin’s new book, “Grace is Messy: Reflections on Jesus”, all I could say is “Wow.” Steve immediately captured my attention and would not let it go. When I read the riveting account of his poverty-stricken youth and how he was able to come out of that situation, I was encouraged that anything is possible for those who believe, and that included me.
Steve has found that sweet spot between sharing stories that belong to him and giving them away. You too can benefit from the blessing of overcoming defeats and being raised up to victorious life. The lessons that he shares will give those people caught in the middle of seemingly hopeless situations, the courage and strength to move forward in faith.
His book is faith filled, but it is not religious. It is not for the faint of heart . The stories are real life and real life is not always clean, neat and tidy. As you read through the various chapters, you will find yourself immersed in a what could be a reality T.V. program, right along side of Steve and his experiences. The best thing about going along with Steve is, you never know what to expect, but you can always expect to be blessed. I highly recommend that you experience this book for yourself and someone you love.
You are partnering with WellHouse and using your book as an instrument to fight Sex trafficking. Why is sex trafficking an issue that has become your mission?
Approximately 27 million are trafficked every year, either for labor or sex. 80% are women and 50% are children. Let that sink in. Somewhere around 13, 500,000 children are trafficked every single year. Children as young as 11 and 12 years old.
Sex trafficking has become the second major epidemic, right after the drug on war, but it’s not getting near the attention. I wish we could use just a fraction of the resources we have to fight drugs and begin to fight for the exploited and trafficked.
Tell us about WellHouse and the work that they do?
The WellHouse is a faith-based and Christ-centered nonprofit organization offering immediate shelter and transitional housing to women who have been trafficked, are prostituting, or otherwise sexually exploited. Food, clothing, spiritual guidance, Christian counseling, and other necessities are provided, along with assisting with referrals for substance abuse treatment, if needed. Life skills classes, GED preparation, and other enrichment services are part of the experience to help these women become self-sufficient and give them a sense of self-worth. The goal is for women to go on to live full and productive lives.
Few shelters exist for sexually exploited women.
The WellHouse is the only 24-hour shelter offering immediate housing assistance to women being prostituted in the Southeast. Other shelters have entry requirements undermining a women’s access to an immediate, safe environment, such as requiring state identification, proof of homelessness, and other prerequisites, which this population of women may not have. The WellHouse does not require qualifying information. While in the program, residents receive assistance in obtaining the identification and documentation they need to rebuild their lives. Safety is an ongoing concern.
Exploited women cannot experience personal progress and future success, if their safety is in question or jeopardized. The length of time in the program is guided by safety and individual needs, since most residents have no other resources available than those provided by the WellHouse.
The WellHouse is run by Tajuan McCarty, who was trafficked (pimped) for 10 years across 48 states, addicted to the drugs she was forced to sell, and later found freedom through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Tajuan speaks from such a place of grace, sincerity, and healing that I just knew I had to do what I could to help.
I was talking to Tajuan McCarty, Founder and Executive Director of The WellHouse recently and this is what she told me, “Sex trafficking has been an issue for many years. God called me back to a house I had been trafficked to 25 years later to rescue a beautiful princess. He allowed this to happen so others will realize it hasn’t gone anywhere if it is still happening at the EXACT same house 25 years later. It is imperative we bring more awareness to those in the dark and provide a way out for those enslaved. We must not only raise awareness, we must provide the hope and love of Christ as well.”
Your book is scheduled for release this fall. However, readers will have an opportunity to participate in bringing your mission and campaign to life. Tell us about the GoFundMe campaign that you have started?
The address for the GoFundMe Campaign is http://www.gofundme.com/93lbf8 and we are asking for donations, ranging from $5 to $500. Remember that 50% of the proceeds from the sale of each book goes directly to support The WellHouse and combat sex trafficking on the I-20 corridor, from Texas to Atlanta.
Our goal is to raise $10,000 (that’s $4,000 to set up our 501(c)3 (non-profit) status with the IRS and $6,000 to have the book published and printed.
I am sure that many of our followers will want to follow your progress and get updates on your amazing projects. What are some of the ways that we can stay connected to you for updates?
The best way to stay connected is by subscribing to my website: www.graceismessy.com, but there are also constant updates on our
Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/iamsteveaustin and our
Twitter account at https://twitter.com/iamsteveaustin
More about Steve:
Author website: http://www.graceismessy.com
GoFundMe Campaign: http://www.gofundme.com/93lbf8
About the Campaign: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Av8lUqa05mw
Steve’s story in 50 seconds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INQyEHAFFL0
Island of Immortality
by Mark Capell
*** SPECIAL LAUNCH PRICE ***
It’s 2117 and the government has stopped reading your emails. It now reads your mind…
Every year, WOCO (the world government) nominates people to compete in the Edyl Olympiad. The prize? Immortality, and the right to live in the only place left in the world where the sun still shines — Edyl Island. But the competitors are watched by a secret government division called The Reading Department to see if they’re worthy of that prize.
R77K is a thought reader on his first Edyl assignment. He has three targets: a rock singer, an athlete, and a mechanic. But one of them also moonlights as a contract killer. Why would a contract killer be nominated for immortality? All is not well in paradise.
The deeper R77K delves into the minds of his targets, the closer he gets to them… and to the hidden agenda behind the nominations. Edyl is a festering world of lies, corruption and strife, but defying WOCO means fighting off attacks from other thought readers, means giving up any last chance of his own immortality. Will he pay that price to save the nominees? And join the cause to put the world to rights?
EDYL – Island of Immortality is a dystopian view of the future, an intense mix of intrigue and drama in an epic tale.
* Amazon * Barnes&Noble * Kobo *
Meet BestSelling Author: Mark Capell
Mark Capell is a former documentary television director. He made shows for the BBC, ITV and satellite. He got to meet all sorts of weird and wonderful people, including a gangster who offered, for ‘cost price’, to kill anybody who upset him. Needless to say, he never took up the offer.
Instead, he decided to take his storytelling skills to the world of fiction. His books are highly imaginative tales.
His debut novel, ‘Run, Run, Run’, became a number one bestselling crime thriller on Amazon. He followed it up with a series of novellas about a failed actor who becomes a successful undercover cop because of his inordinate ability to lie – The Myles Morgan Mysteries.
‘Vows to Kill’ was his second full length novel and is about a detective who receives a death threat: I will kill you on your wedding day.
‘Cafe Insomniac’ — 25-year-old Justin opens an all-night café, but he’s soon on a quest to find out how his insomnia is connected to the murder of a customer.
His latest novel is ‘EDYL – Island of Immortality’. A dystopian tale of the future in which the government can read your mind and immortality is a prize to be won.
Connect with Mark
Shadow of Worlds
(The Worlds of Man)
by JD Lovil
The world we see around us is but one of an infinite number of worlds. Every one of us walks from world to world in our lives, never knowing that we do so. If you ever have noticed that life always is as you expect it to be, this is the reason. Rafe is one of the few who can consciously walk through the shadows of the worlds. Anything that he can imagine, he can find in the worlds that might be. Our earliest ancestors knew that this great veil existed, and that it was possible to find the object of your desire in the place of your dreams. Whether you sought meaning in the Dream Time, or power in Arcana, the fools call it magic, and the wise call it Truth.
When our distant ancestors saw those who walked between worlds, they called them gods. Odin, Zeus, or Enlil, Brahma or Kali, all of these awoke to the truth of infinite worlds, and learned to travel among the worlds with purpose.
The world lines encompass all possibilities and all possible worlds. There are an infinite number of worlds in which humans, and some who are nearly human, live. Beyond these worlds are the ones that twist the mind into madness, worlds where the rules are not the familiar ones that we expect. Far from the places of humanity, there are places where, in all the universe, there are no places to stand, where even the stars have never formed, and some in which the hydrogen that fills our universe can never be.
Far beyond these worlds are places so incomprehensible that the eye refuses to see there, and the ear cannot hear there, places that are beyond madness, where the mind dissolves with the merest experience. In this place which is neither dark nor light, where no rationality or order is possible, there are things that live beyond time and space, things that hunger for all things.
The Scourge is from this darkest place, and it slowly intrudes into the shadows of order, bringing madness to both Man and world. It falls to the Walkers in Shadows to unite, and to seal the way against the Scourge, before the stain of the Scourge’s touch can twist all worlds everywhere into madness.
Meet the Author: JD Lovil
A Modest Genius
Assistant or Slave, he learned just enough about hand labor, mechanics, metalwork, plumbing and electrical work to be dangerous, and far more than he ever wanted to know about many other unpleasant tasks.
Surviving many fine adventures over the years, and after having been rumored to be an agent for the Arcturian anti-movement movement, the Author has settled into the Phoenix Metro Area in Arizona, where he has avoided the Mayan Apocalypse by settling into a life of writing sedately, and so being indistinguishable to gods or aliens from an inanimate object.
FREE July 4 to 7
Guideposts For Life
by Tony A Smith
SELF HELP FREEBIE
Don’t we all wish we had a road map to keep us on the right track in life? We need certain cornerstones or guideposts in life to guide and direct us along our journey. In this book you will find those guideposts as described by a native Oklahoman, Tony Smith, who has been through his share of storms as well as blue skies. The stories are joyful, tearful, humorous, and thought provoking. Along the way you will also pick up some practical tips and tricks for improving your life to keep you going in the right direction.