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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Every Day Heros

Not long ago I went into my bank to deposit some checks. I saw a display on a board that was prominetly displayed in the lobby. It was across the room from where I was standing but the picture that was next to the write up was familiar. Upon closer examination I found that the beautiful woman pictured was my sweet niece. "Home Town Hero" I whispered. I read the things it said about her. She had helped raise her 4 brothers after their mother, my sister, passed away at a young age. Tina was 14 and a very responsible young girl. She also married young, finished high school, and started her own business. She ownes "The Added Touch of Hair Design". On the paper it was stated that the people who come to her salon leave, not only looking better, but feeling better for having had contact with her. She allows absolutely no gossip in her shop and has been known to pray for her clients and lift them up. Now she is the legal guardian of her neighbor who suffered a stroke some years ago. She sees to her care and coordinates her caregivers and business. Tina is a hero.

I happened to have a camera in my purse so I took the picture and did my deposit. When I got in the car it hit me and I sat there and cried. Her mama would have been so proud of her.

Upon reflecting on this I have thought about my various other nieces and nephews. There are 20 nieces and nephews and 20+ great-nieces and nephews. Among their number are many "heros". Some are teachers, preachers, doctors, therapists, plumbers, contractors, consultants, stay-at-home moms, and every other profession. They are the "salt of the earth" type people. Most of them would do whatever it takes to help their family or friends. I love them all so much.

This week I am interviewing a young man who is a hero in his own right. Please take the time to read his story.

1. What is your name and what is the title of your book(s)?
My name is Steve Newman and the title of my first book is “The Night Eagles Soared” and the second book, which I am currently working on is titled, “Burnt Yellow and Red.”

2. What is one thing you think your readers would like to know about you?
Well, I am a real person, a real person with an extraordinary past. I spent twenty one years as a member of the Green Berets and that had a profound impact upon my entire life. By the grace of God, I came home in one peace time after time and I hope that folks can enjoy my book and perhaps take away a bit of pride in their military.

3. When did you know that you wanted to become a writer?
While I was in the Army, guys would always say stuff like, “Can you believe that we are getting paid to do the kind of things they write books about!” It was true, but I didn’t decide to actually become a writer until February of 2008. That is when my wife told me she wanted me to quit my full time job and start writing that book I always talked about. She made it possible for me to take the time off and complete my first book, “The Night Eagles Soared.” Even then, I didn’t really think of myself as a writer, but every time I crossed a threshold, every small success that took place, every time I finished a chapter, I slowly realized that I was becoming a writer. I didn’t really set out to become a writer. I still saw myself as a soldier who just wanted to write a book about an idea I had. My sweet wife started to introduce me as “Her husband the writer” and I would blush and kick the floor or some dirt around depending on where we were. It wasn’t until after I received word from Tate Publishing that I was one of the select few to be selected for publication that it started to sink in, I had become a writer. That is when I started my next project and the rest is history. Perhaps one day I will be famous. I must add that my mother was an English Teacher and unpublished Author and it was her love of language and desire to write that inspired me.

4. What are your strong points in your writing style or methods?
My wife says it’s my style of writing, but I am not exactly sure what that style is. I used mostly first person narrative in “The Night Eagles Soared” and I am using third person limited narrative in “Burnt Yellow and Red.” I just tell the story as it comes to me.
When I was younger, back in 79, I took an English composition course at the University of Oklahoma. In a classroom with over two hundred students, in a class room that looked more like a movie theater than anything else. The professor gave us an assignment to write a story about a person, place and occupation. I went home that afternoon and pumped the story out in about two or three hours, sharpening my pencil several times, filling the blue booklet, I finished the story using all the pages and both sides of the back cover.
Two weeks after I turned in my work, I went to class and it was standing room only. Everybody must have shown up to get their grade for that paper. The professor walked in and we all took our seats, some on the steps that went down through the middle of the classroom down to the professor’s podium. It was soon very quiet as he walked in with an assistant who was carrying all the booklets under his chin. The professor took his place behind the podium, reached into his briefcase and pulled out one of the booklets and said; “I thought I would give this student an F. The grammar in this paper is terrible; but I would like to read it to you all and see what kind of reaction it gets from a live audience.”
Horrified, I sat there with my mouth open as he began to read my paper. I don’t want to retell the entire story that I had written but as the professor got to the love scene, the girl sitting next to me elbowed my shoulder. Holding her hand over her mouth she said, “Can you believe somebody would write that in a class like this.” The entire classroom was gasping, then laughing, and clapping at the end. When it all settled down, the professor said, “well I guess I can’t give this person an F, it appears that he is a natural born story teller.’
Then he announced my name and asked me to come down to the front. I walked down the steps, and as I did the entire classroom broke into applause. When I reached the podium the professor handed me the paper, on the front cover he had written a large F with a circle around it. He had crossed it off with a red marker and then he had written C-, that as my grade. As he handed me the paper, he said, “Your grammar stinks, do better next time!”
I guess my strong point is that I love to tell a story, that is how I relate to the world, and believe it or not, that is how I met my wife! I haven’t stopped telling her stories; well, I guess I should say I haven’t stopped talking since the day we met!

5. Are you a reader?
I wouldn’t say that I am an avid reader, but I do enjoy reading non-fiction and of course I love reading Historical Military Fiction like my book, “The Night Eagles Soared.”

6. What are you reading right now?
Joel Osteen’s “Your Best Life Now, 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential.” Joel’s book is a refreshing look at how God has equipped us to face life’s challenges through faith. He does an excellent job of detailing the importance of how our words, thoughts, and deeds shape our vision of the world, and our place within it. He presents an extraordinarily uplifting and positive message, something we could all use. I tell everyone that Joel’s book has helped me to stay focused on the future and the possibilities of a positive life lived in faith. I think many people could benefit from a message like that.

7. Do you have another book that you are working on and haven’t submitted for publication?
Yes I do! It is titled “Burnt Yellow and Red,” and it is about a young boy named Kyle. Kyle has a tendency to count things, and to keep the numbers going in his head, that takes up a lot of time and energy. It keeps him from focusing on other things that most children love. He is special but he doesn’t know why. Folks say that about him and rub his head in amazement; his hair, as white as snow.

“Burnt Yellow and Red” is set in the late 1960’s at a small rural school in South Western Oklahoma and follows Kyle as he comes out of his shell and learns how to relate to the world and others in a normal manner. He starts his journey as the family leaves California during what I call the reverse dust bowl era when his family moved from the desert in South Eastern California back to Oklahoma.

I haven’t quite figured out where the story will end, but I am having a blast developing the characters and following the journey as it unfolds. Kyle is a very special Kid; perhaps he is just a little too smart for his own good.

8. What are your biggest obstacles to writing and how do you overcome them?
Just getting started each day, it is very difficult to turn creativity on and just as hard to turn it off. I try not to read back through what I have written before starting again the next day. I’ll read the last paragraph and take it from there. Then, if I can just get the first sentence of the next paragraph started, I’ll usually knock out an entire page without stopping.

I’ve learned to also set short term goals, with one overall long term goal, finish the book. It has been my experience that writing more than two or three pages a day is very, very difficult. I feel satisfied if I can complete one page each day, although there was a three week period while I was trying to finish “The Night Eagles Soared” that I couldn’t stop writing and I knocked out four chapters, over 120 pages in that short period of time. It took me six months to write the first six chapters.

The other thing I will do when I am finished for the day is to quickly go back through the entire chapter, editing for spelling and obvious grammar mistakes. When I finish a chapter I will read it out load to my wife. She says she enjoys hearing me read but I think she just puts up with it to make me happy. Either way, it helps me to read out loud to an audience. It helps me hear the flow or rhythm of the sentences and gauge reaction to the scenes.

I just read this to my wife and she said, “I really like to hear your stories dear,” and then she winked.

9. Please put a description of each of your books here.

“The Night Eagles Soared” is set immediately after the attacks on 9-11 as a Special Forces team departs from its base of operations in flight towards Afghanistan. They are the initial infiltration of American troops into that country as the hunt for Osama Bin Laden and the effort to take down the Taliban are set into motion.

Throughout the flight, the Team Sergeant; Mike, examines his life as a member of the Green Berets and the experiences that placed him into the position of being the first Senior Non-Commissioned Officer to lead his team into combat via a High Altitude Low Opening parachute Operation (HALO) since the Vietnam War.

“The Night Eagles Soared” tells the story of one man’s effort to succeed and survive as a Special Forces soldier throughout many operations over twenty years leading up to the liberation of Afghanistan from its oppressors.

About the Author:

In my first work of fiction “The Night Eagles Soared” I drew upon my own experiences having served for over two decades with the United States Army Special Forces. Over the years, I oversaw and participated in numerous military operations to include operations as part of the Global War on Terror. I hold a Bachelor in Science, Business Administration from Columbia College, Columbia Mo., and I continue to work towards a Masters Degree in Asymmetric Warfare. I live in South Florida with my wife Brig and I am writing everyday about the world in which we all must live.

The description of my second book Burnt Yellow and Red” is written above in line 7.

10. How can readers contact you or purchase your books? Please put your website or blog here.
“The Night Eagles Soared” will be released sometime in the summer of 2010 and I will start taking advance orders for signed pre-release copies in January for delivery sometime prior to the release date. We still haven’t set up a formal process as of yet to take the orders so just send me an email at:

It is great to get to know the writers. If you missed one of the past interviews of the talented authors I have been interviewing be sure to visit my blog and catch up. These are interesting people!

No comments:

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

100 Ways to Simplify Your Life

Publisher: FaithWords; Lrg edition (November 12, 2008)


JOYCE MEYER is one of the world's leading practical Bible teachers. A #1 New York Times bestselling author, she has written more than seventy inspirational books, including The Confident Woman, Look Great, Feel Great, and the entire Battlefield of the Mindfamily of books. She has also released thousands of audio teachings as well as a complete video library. Joyce's Enjoying Everyday Life® radio and television programs are broadcast around the world, and she travels extensively conducting conferences. Joyce and her husband, Dave, are the parents of four grown children and make their home in St. Louis, Missouri.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $16.99

Paperback: 240 pages

Publisher: FaithWords; Lrg edition (November 12, 2008)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0446509396

ISBN-13: 978-0446509398



Everyone has them: those days where nothing seems to get done, except maybe what you’ve added to your already lengthy to-do list. Are you tired most of the time? Are you spent? Do you find yourself wish- ing for a better day—a simpler day? Too many things compete for your limited resources of attention, energy, and time. You may be suffocat- ing and not even know it. If you feel like this, you’re not alone.

Most people today live complicated lives that leave them frustrated and confused, weary and worn out. But I have good news: your life does not have to be that way. You can choose a life of simplicity, fruitfulness, fulfillment, peace, and joy. I want to warn you, however, unless you are determined not to, you will do what everyone else does. You will get sucked up in the system and spend your life wishing things were different, never realizing you are, in fact, the only one who can change things. Unless we are resolute and remain undaunted in our quest for simplicity, we are destined for complication and frustration.

I recall a time when I was complaining to God about my schedule being absolutely insane. How could anyone be expected to do all I had in front of me? Then the realization hit me that I was the one who made my schedule and nobody could change it but me. You can spend your lives wishing things were different, but wishing won’t change anything. Smart decision making and decisive action is what changes things. If you picked up this book looking for change, are you willing to make a decision and follow it up with action?

I wasted many years hoping life would change and things would calm down until I finally realized life itself doesn’t change; in fact, it has the potential to get worse. I understood my only real option was to change my approach to life. I had to say no to another day of rushing around and feeling frustrated. I didn’t want the doctor giving me another pre- scription to mask another symptom of the real problem—stress.

In my search for simplicity, I have come to believe life can never be simple unless I learn to approach all things simply. It is my attitude toward each event in life that determines how easy or complex each situation will be. Perhaps life is complicated because people are compli- cated. Is it possible that life is not complicated, but rather, individuals complicate life in the way they approach it?

I discovered it wasn’t really life or circumstances or other people as much as it was me that needed to change. My problem wasn’t the problem—I was the problem! When you spend your life in frustration trying to change the world and everyone in it, you fail to realize it could be you just need to change your approach to life. It can be very easy for someone to live an entire lifetime and never entertain the notion that the way they do things is the real problem.

Have you ever attempted to have friends over for what you initially intended to be a simple afternoon of food, fellowship, and fun, but somehow, it turned into a complicated nightmare? I remember those days vividly. I’d be at church on Sunday and, without much forethought, invite three couples over for the following Sunday to a barbecue. My initial thought was hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill, baked beans, potato chips, and iced tea. My motive was fellowship and fun, but by the time the guests arrived, I didn’t even want them there. Fun was not going to happen, at least not for me. Why? I turned my simple get- together into a nightmare of preparation, expensive food, and fourteen people instead of the original six. My complicated approach to life and my complicated thought process convinced me hot dogs and hamburg- ers weren’t nice enough so I bought steaks we could not afford. My potato chips turned into a huge bowl of homemade potato salad. The simple baked beans became four side dishes I labored over.

Insecure and wanting to impress everyone, I had to spend the week cleaning and getting everything in the house to the point where I thought it would be impressive. Of course, the lawn chairs were old, so I bought new ones. I got angry at Dave because I thought he wasn’t help- ing me enough, and by the time our friends arrived, I resented them, wished they hadn’t come, and had a miserable day of pretending to be the happy hostess when in reality I was frustrated and miserable.

I could not figure out why I wasn’t able to enjoy much of anything in life until God revealed to me I was killing my joy with complication. For years, I prayed God would change the people and circumstances around me when, in reality, He wanted to change me and my approach to life. He wanted me to simplify so, ultimately, He could be glorified.

Let me share with you 100 ways to approach living that can simplify your life and, in turn, release and increase your joy. I believe they will dramatically improve the quality of your everyday experience if you incorporate them into the way you do things. Jesus said He came so we might have and enjoy our life in abundance (see John 10:10). His prin- ciples are simple. Faith is simple! Trusting God is simple! A childlike approach to Him is simple! The plan of salvation is simple!

Jesus offers us a “new way of living,” and I believe it is a simple, yet powerful way that enables us to enjoy everyday life. Are you ready to simplify your life? Are you ready to say good-bye to the complexities you’ve allowed to take over? Let’s get started.

Do One Thing at a Time

The feeling of being hurried is not usually the result of living a full life and having no time. It is, on the contrary, born of a vague fear that we are wasting our life. When we do not do the one thing we ought to do, we have no time for anything elseówe are the busiest people in the world.


Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection].

—Hebrews 12:2

When we do things without truly focusing our minds on them, we immediately decrease our strength to do the work before us and do it well. By putting our hands to one thing and our mind to another, we divide the muscle behind our abilities and we make the task much more difficult. It’s like removing an egg yolk from the egg white—both can be used separately but the result isn’t as effective (or tasty) as it would be if we leave the egg whole. However, by directing all of our faculties to the one thing we are doing on a particular day, at that hour, at that moment, we find it much easier to do. The ability to concentrate and stay focused can only come from discipline.

The apostle Paul tells us in Philippians 4:6 to be anxious for nothing. Anxious people are always trying to live ahead of where they currently are. They spend today trying to figure out tomorrow and the result is the loss of simplicity. God expects us to trust Him with tomorrow just as He instructed the Israelites to do when they crossed the barren wil- derness, pressing toward the Promised Land.

Practice living one day at a time; give yourself—your thoughts, your conversation, your energies, every part of you—to the day at hand.

100 Ways to Simplify Your Life

1. Develop an ability to give yourself to what you are doing. You will sense an awareness enabling you to enjoy the current activity, instead of going through each day in a blur of activity and confusing thoughts which leave you drained and exhausted.

Do you fear you will not accomplish as much if you try to live this way? It’s true you may not do as much, but you will also enjoy what you do a whole lot more. One key to simplicity is realizing that quality is far superior to quantity.

The Blog Tour for "Nan's Journey" Begins July 23

It is time to play a Wild Card! Every now and then, a book that I have chosen to read is going to pop up as a FIRST Wild Card Tour. Get dealt into the game! (Just click the button!) Wild Card Tours feature an author and his/her book's FIRST chapter!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and his/her book:

Nan's Journey

Tate Publishing & Enterprises (January 2, 2008)


Littau is a life-long resident of Perryton, TX. She met husband, Terry at the Apostolic Faith Bible College in Baxter Springs, Kansas in 1974. They married March 1, 1975 and reside on a small acreage near Perryton where they enjoy spending time with their family and friends. They raised three sons and now have three daughters-in-law and four grandchildren added to their family. They also enjoy visiting with their extended family located in Perryton, Clear Lake, Laverne, and Amarillo.

Author Elaine Littau is a busy woman who by profession is the church secretary for Harvest Time First Assembly of God Church in Perryton. Among other things she has led women’s groups and taught preschool, and was a mentor for the M.O.P.S. (Mothers of Preschoolers) group in her community. She has been active in Toastmasters and enjoys painting, crafts, and playing piano and organ. She was recently appointed to the Campus Education Improvement Committee for Wright Elementary in Perryton. She belongs to Christian Storytellers and Faith Writers writing groups.

“Nan’s Journey” was written over the course of several years. “A salvation message is at the core of the book.” Littau says. “If it weren’t for the Lord, I wouldn’t have been able to do this. I truly enjoy meeting new people.”

Littau is currently working on two other books that are continuations of “Nan’s Journey.” Book signings and speaking engagements are currently set up for venues in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, and Oregon.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 188 pages
Publisher: Tate Publishing & Enterprises (January 2, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602478325
ISBN-13: 978-1602478329


Chapter One

It was late. The moon had risen and the night symphony was in full force. Crickets chirped at their rivals, the frogs, and dominated the night chorus. Only one sound in the forest was foreign—a whimper from under the ferns. At the base of the largest pine in the woods was a small form crying, moaning, and whimpering. Black hair, matted and dirty, hung in long ropes down the front of the tiny girl. She had been in this spot for hours. At least that is what it felt like to her. Stretching, she cried out in pain. The blood-covered welts burst open to bleed again. Her back was wet with blood, and her dress was torn and useless.

Why had she dared to speak to the woman that she was obliged to call mother in that way? She knew that talking was not allowed from children before chores were finished. The accusations being made by “Ma” were totally false and she could not let Elmer take the blame for something she herself had forgotten to do. She shut her eyes tight against the memory, but it intruded anyway.

She had just gotten up to take the water off the stove to make up dishwater for the supper dishes. Ma had stepped outside the room to turn down her bed and prepare for sleep. When she reappeared in the kitchen, she realized that the wood supply next to the stove was low. Elmer was standing next to the table gathering the plates for washing. “Elmer, where is the wood you were supposed to bring up to the house?” Before he could answer, a hand had slapped him across his face. Getting back onto his feet and standing as tall as a five year old can stand, he looked her in the eye and said, “Ma, I was sick today, ‘member?”

“So, Elmer, you’re going to play up that headache trick again. Nan, didn’t your good for nothing Mama teach you people how to work, or are you just lazy?”

“Our Mama was good! Don’t you say mean things about her!” Nan yelled as her heart raced at the assault against her real Mama’s character.

“What about it, Elmer, are you like your weakling Mama or what?” Elmer’s eyes became very large and filled with tears. He could barely remember his real Mama, but when he did, he remembered soft kisses and sweet singing and a beautiful face. “I’m sorry; I’ll get the wood now.”

“No, Elmer, don’t. I promised you I’d do it today when your head was hurting, but I forgot. I’ll get it after I do these dishes.”

“Listen here, Nan, I’m the boss around here and Elmer will do what I say, when I say, and you will respect me.”

Nan’s eyes widened.

“Don’t look at me like that, little girl.”

Nan held her breath.

“Well, I guess you will be making a trip to the wood shed…with me!” Ma had grabbed her by the arm and jerked her along behind the shed. The strap was hanging there, waiting. Whippings were becoming more and more frequent. After Ma’s husband left, they had taken on a more cruel form. The last whipping was more like a beating. It took days for the marks to scab over and heal. Little Elmer had come in that night and brought some horse medicine from the barn and applied it to the oozing marks.

The next afternoon when the schoolteacher came over, Ma had already formulated a story. “Mrs. Dewey, we missed Nan and Elmer today at school. Are they sick?” Ma lied the first time in her life and said, “Well Miss Sergeant, since Mr. Dewey is going to be gone for another four weeks, I need more help around here to get things done. I’m holding the kids out until he gets back.” Week after week went by, and Mr. Dewey still hadn’t come home. Everyday Ma grew more and more angry. It became more and more impossible to please her. When she began hitting Elmer, it was too much. Nan had to do something— right or wrong; things couldn’t stay the way they were.

The coolness of the earth had settled into Nan’s bones. She stood silently for a minute and carefully crept up to the farmhouse. As she opened the door, she saw that Elmer was in the pallet at the foot of the stove next to her bedroll. Ma was asleep in her room. The door held open with a rock. Slowly she began peeling off the dress and the dried blood stuck to it. She reached for the old shirt she normally wore over her wounds and under her dress. She had washed it today. It had bloodstains on it, but it would keep her from ruining another dress. She retrieved the old work dress that she wore when chores were messier than usual; it was the only one left. She put it on swiftly and shook Elmer awake with her hand over his mouth. “Baby, we must leave. Do you understand? Stay quiet and I will get some stuff to take with us.”

She found large old handkerchief and began looking for food supplies. There was one sourdough biscuit and about a cup of cold brown beans. She located her tin cup and another rag. She would probably need that. Three matches were in the cup on the stove. She would just take two. Suddenly she heard a sound from Ma’s room. A scampering sound… just a rat. Ma turned over. Her breathing became deep and regular. For once Nan wished that Ma snored. She tied the handkerchief in a knot over the meager food supplies, grabbed their bedrolls, and slowly opened the door.

“Come on, Elmer. Can you carry this food? I’ll get your bedding. That’s a good boy. We must hurry!”

The cold air bit at their faces, but they walked bravely on.

“Elmer, we must go tonight so we can get as far away as we can before Ma wakes up and sees that we are gone.”

For the next half hour the pair walked in silence through the familiar woods past the graves on the hill. In one, a mother dearly loved, in another, an infant who had died the same day as his mother, and the third, a father that only Nan had memory of. Elmer was only two years old when Pa died in the logging accident. Nan snapped out of her reverie and urged Elmer on. Molasses, Pa’s good old workhorse, stood in the pasture. He skidded the logs Pa cut with his axe. His legs hadn’t healed quite right, but Mama hadn’t let Mr. Dewey kill him because he was all she had left of the husband of her youth. Molasses was a faithful friend to Nan and Elmer. He stood there and waited for them to mount him.

“Molasses, take us to…” Nan realized then that they had nowhere to go. Mrs. Dewey had said that they were ungrateful little imps who didn’t realize she and Mr. Dewey were taking care of them out of kindness, and they could easily be put into an orphanage. Nan didn’t know anything about orphanages except what Mrs. Dewey…uh, Ma had told her. “Molasses, just take us out of here.”

Cruise Blunder

Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Westminster CO

Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Westminster CO
Great book signing in Colorado!

Mardel Bookstore in Littleton, CO

Mardel Bookstore in Littleton, CO
Booksigning - Elaine

Elk's Resolve Proof is Here