Friday, June 26, 2020

New Release! The Marvelous Mechanical Man by Rie Sheridan Rose

By Rie Sheridan Rose

The Marvelous Mechanical Man is the first book in a Steampunk series featuring the adventures of Josephine Mann, an independent woman in need of a way to pay her rent. She meets Professor Alistair Conn, in need of a lab assistant, and a partnership is created that proves exciting adventure for both of them.

Alistair’s prize invention is an automaton standing nine feet tall. There’s a bit of a problem though…he can’t quite figure out how to make it move. Jo just might be of help there. Then again, they might not get a chance to find out, as the marvelous mechanical man goes missing.

Jo and Alistair find themselves in the middle of a whirlwind of kidnapping, catnapping, and cross-country chases that involve airships, trains, and a prototype steam car. With a little help from their friends, Herbert Lattimer and Winifred Bond, plots are foiled, inventions are perfected, and a good time is had by all.


Amazon →

I was debating just what I should do next when I heard the sound of a key in the front lock. Hurrying back to the laboratory, I was just in time to see Alistair Conn step inside.
            “Professor Conn! Am I glad to see you.”
            He set the bundles he was carrying down on the counter.
            “What is it, Miss Mann?”
            “Your mechanical man...can it walk on its own?”
            He frowned, glancing quickly at the rear door and back.
            “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
            I rolled my eyes.
            “We don’t have time for shilly-shallying. Yes, I know I didn’t have your leave to look in the back rooms, but I did. I saw the automaton, or statue, or whatever he was, but when I opened the door to the hallway this morning, the door to the storage room was ajar and the man was gone.”
            “Gone?” All the color fled his face, and he pushed me aside, practically running down the lab to the rear door. He threw it open and darted to the storage room. “! This is impossible! How could he be gone?”
            “That’s what I was asking you.”
            “He can’t move on his own, Miss Mann. He has no power source. He’s just a big metal doll without his heart—and that doesn’t work yet.” He wiped his hand across his lips then turned and ran back to the lab, searching furiously amid the items I had so carefully arranged—apparently to no avail—on the counter. “It’s gone!” he cried. “They got that, too? Oh, this is disastrous, indeed.”
            “Got what?” I asked, following him back to the lab, where he seemed determined to destroy all my neatening efforts of the day before.
            “The heart, Miss Mann, the heart! I showed it to you yesterday morning—it’s an oblong machine, about so big….” He held up his hands about six inches apart. “You asked me what it did.”
            I stepped over to the counter and opened the drawer beneath it. Rummaging in the back, I withdrew the silk-wrapped package I had placed within it the night before.
            “Is this what you’re looking for?”
            He practically snatched it from my hand.
            “Thank God! Oh, that was most clever, Miss Mann. Most clever.”
            I decided there was no need to tell the man it was only chance that had protected his precious...whatever it was. Let him think it had been foresight.
            “You say that’s the statue’s heart?”
            “Well, it will be, if it ever starts working. This little object will provide the power necessary to move the automaton’s limbs, to let him think. He will be a true mechanical man.”
            “But it doesn’t work.”
            He sighed.
            “Not yet.” He set the oblong down on the counter. “I’ve done everything I can think of, but I just can’t make it do anything.”
            I looked down at the funny little machine. I couldn’t tell him I had played with it and added things. He would never forgive me.
            Something looked odd about the assembly. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what, so I put my finger on the machine instead. There was a tiny lever half-hidden by the new gear assembly. It shifted under my fingertip, and suddenly, the heart began to beat.

Rie Sheridan Rose multitasks. A lot. Her short stories appear in numerous anthologies, including Nightmare Stalkers and Dream Walkers Vols. 1 and 2, and Killing It Softly Vols. 1 and 2. She has authored twelve novels, six poetry chapbooks, and lyrics for dozens of songs. These were mostly written in conjunction with Marc Gunn, and can be found on “Don’t Go Drinking with Hobbits” and “Pirates vs. Dragons” for the most part–with a few scattered exceptions.

Her favorite work to date is The Conn-Mann Chronicles Steampunk series with five books released so far: The Marvelous Mechanical Man, The Nearly Notorious Nun, The Incredibly Irritating Irishman, The Fiercely Formidable Fugitive, and The Elderly Earl’s Estate.

Rie lives in Texas with her wonderful husband and several spoiled cat-children.


Website:  and



Monday, June 22, 2020

New Release! The Christian Christmas Condition by Scott Rankin

Christian / Nonfiction

Our Lord desires that we become more Christ-like every day (1 Corinthians 11:1). To accomplish this goal, He tells us to renew our minds (Romans 12:2).  But how do the Christmas holidays help accomplish this goal when all the busyness and stress makes it hard to focus all our attention on Christ and rest in His peace?  In an easy-to-read format, The Christian Christmas Condition asks the question, “How does our Lord feel about Christmas today?” encouraging Christians of all ages to examine Christmas-time traditions from God’s perspective.  Filled with bible references, this study will boost your faith, increase your knowledge, and strengthen you to fully honor Jesus in the midst of Christmas, traditions, and busy holiday activities.  This powerful book further encourages all Christians to become more Christ-like in our thinking and our actions each, and every day of the year… not just in the winter holidays!


Merry Christmas! Put your holiday thinking caps on, because we’re warming up with two fun challenges. First, I’m going to give you three sets of lyrics. Your job is to see how much of each song you can remember. If you feel like singing out loud, be my guest. Ready?

  • Oh, you better watch out, you better not…
  • Rudolph the…
  • I’m dreaming of a…
            Now, let’s get into the Christmas spirit with our final exercise: when I say “go,” quickly list the top ten things you associate with the Christmas season. You may include past memories or present-day traditions; anything related to Christmas, and there are no wrong answers. This exercise is about the first things that pop into your mind, so complete your list as quickly as you can. You can use the space provided below or get your own sheet of paper, but please don’t skip this brief exercise, as you’ll want to reference your list later!
            When you’re done, we’ll continue on the next page. Ready… Set… Go!

Here are a few popular answers: Jingle Bells, cutting out paper snowflakes, snowball fights, writing letters to Santa Claus, vacation from school, mistletoe, sitting by a warm fireplace on a cold night, trimming the Christmas tree, hanging stockings, setting out cookies and milk for Santa Claus, candlelight mass, Christmas lights on houses, and family reunions… Some of our fondest memories circulate around this time of year!
I once asked a woman named Lisa to do this exercise out loud, and she did an amazing job of listing a large number of family-related activities. However, not one thing she listed had any correlation with Jesus, His birth, worship, angels announcing Jesus’ birth, or a manger scene. Now, Lisa loves the Lord, but I asked her why she had so many other thoughts come to mind before Jesus—and her answer unveiled the perfect premise for this book (thank you, Lisa). She said, “I guess we’re all just conditioned to think that way.” So now I ask, if we’ve really been conditioned… what condition are Christians in during Christmas?

 What did your top ten list look like? Did Jesus make the cut? Now, let’s add another layer to this “top 10” list exercise. When you see your kids or any immediate family member today, ask them to take the same challenge. Their answers may astonish you (partly because they do not have the chance to read the introduction of this book beforehand). Their responses should be wonderfully raw.
As you compare other people’s responses, where did Jesus get put in the order? Was He first? Was He in the middle? Was He in the back? Or was He left out altogether? If you found anywhere through the results of your own experiment that Jesus did not dominate or top your list, or those of your friends and family members, then let’s examine why together.

You will find that there are a variety of different views among people about Christmas and its traditions. We’ve all heard phrases like:
  • “Jesus… the reason for the season”
  • “Let’s put Christ back into Christmas”
  • “We need to save Christmas”
  • “Happy Holidays” (instead of “Merry Christmas”)
            Some in the body of Christ regard Christmas as a pagan holiday, believing we should not observe it at all. Many contend that Christmas was created to honor baby Jesus and it’s very important to keep this tradition so we can worship Him. Others still will point out that Christmas has now become so commercialized that we just need to get back to what is really important.
So, what is the real reason for the Christmas season? How did Christmas celebrations begin? How does God want us to use Christmas to worship and honor His Son? These are some great questions, and that is what we are going to cover in this book.
            When Lisa suggested so appropriately that we have been “conditioned,” it simply implies that your surroundings, history, and family traditions have trained you to think a certain way. Truth be told, you were probably born into family traditions and influenced greatly as a child by your surroundings to put presents, the Christmas tree, or Santa first, all the while letting God and Jesus share the spotlight every now and then. In doing so, you may find that Jesus, over time, inadvertently moved out of the first priority position because of conditioned habits during this season.
But don’t lose heart—conditioned does not mean permanent. God tells us that through Him, we can renew our minds! And with a renewed mind comes an overflow of blessings.

            So, sit back and enjoy while we study “The Christian Christmas Condition.”

Scott Rankin graduated with a degree in music education and spent his 20’s and 30’s as a successful music director, visual designer for marching groups, and a professional clinician for high school and college music programs.

In 2009 he was injured in a bicycle accident where he was instantly paralyzed. Today as a healing quadriplegic, Scott’s passion for teaching has been re-focused from music to writing Christian books and public speaking.

Scott Rankin is a gifted educator and effective public speaker. His ability to take complex subject matter, break it into bite-size pieces, and re-assemble those through simple, logical, and enjoyable teaching techniques makes his material easy to understand and hard to forget!




Friday, June 12, 2020

New release: The Rising Place, by David Armstrong

Genre: Historical Romance
Author: David Armstrong
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

About the Book:

The Rising Place is based on an interesting premise: What if you found a hidden box of letters from World War II that belonged to a reclusive old maid who had just died—would you read them? And what if you did and discovered an enthralling story about unrequited love, betrayal, and murder that happened in a small, southern town over seventy years ago?

When a young lawyer moves down south to Hamilton, Mississippi to begin his practice, one of his first assignments is to draft a will for Emily Hodge. “Miss Emily” is a 75-year-old spinster, shunned by Hamilton society, but the lawyer is intrigued by her and can’t understand why this charming lady lives such a solitary and seemingly forgotten life.

After Emily dies, the lawyer goes to Emily’s hospital room to retrieve her few possessions and bequeath them as she directed, and he discovers a sewing box full of old letters, hidden in the back of one of her nightstand drawers. He takes the letters back to his office and reads them, and he soon learns why Emily Hodge died alone, though definitely not forgotten by those whose lives she touched.

About the Author:

David Armstrong was born and raised in Natchez, Mississippi. He is an attorney, former mayor, and former candidate for the U.S. Congress. Currently, he serves as the Chief Operating Officer for the city of Columbus, Mississippi. David received both an undergraduate and a master’s degree in political science from Mississippi State University, before going on to receive a law degree from the University of Mississippi. 

The Rising Place Place, David’s second novel, was made into a feature film by Flatland Pictures before it was published by The Wild Rose Press. His third novel, The Third Gift, will be released by The Wild Rose Press this summer. He has also written four screenplays.

David is the father of two grown sons, William and Canon, and lives in one of the oldest and most haunted antebellum homes in Columbus with a snarky old cat named Butch.

Find out more: 

Read an excerpt! 

When Emily Hodge died, I assumed I would be one of the few people at her funeral. She had lived such a solitary life. She didn’t really seem like a loner, but that was before I learned about the murders and Miss Emily’s past.

She had no family that I was ever aware of. Once, though, when I went to see her in the retirement center before she moved to the hospital, she said something about a “Mr. Wilder” who had visited her years earlier when she used to live in her little yellow house. But I wasn’t sure who this Wilder fellow was or where he was from, and I doubted he was still alive. That was a long time ago, like Miss Emily had said.

And that yellow frame house of hers on Monmouth Avenue has gone through several tenants since Miss Emily moved out and went to the Methodist Retirement Center. Most of the asbestos shingles on the front bottom of the house were covered now with kudzu vine and badly cracked, and Miss Emily would have hated they were so noticeable, so I never told her. I realized several years ago that there were some things it was best Miss Emily never know about.

I never understood why Miss Emily didn’t marry and have her own children. She certainly was attractive enough, in her younger days. She showed me an old picture of herself one Sunday afternoon at the General Hospital when I went by her room to visit. She was a “striking woman,” as she herself commented. But it was more than just a striking woman I saw in that faded, seventy-year-old photograph. She was beautiful. Standing on the running board of an old Ford in a long, pink dress with a cream-colored, flapper hat on her head, she reminded me of someone from that old Bonnie and Clyde movie. It was hard to believe the pretty young woman in that photo was her. I probably stared at it too long, and it seemed to make her uneasy that I thought she was so beautiful.

“You were a lovely girl,” I awkwardly told her. When I handed the picture back to Miss Emily, she replaced it in a brown sewing box and slid it into the bottom drawer of the nightstand next to her bed. After she closed the drawer, I somehow knew Miss Emily would never show anyone that photograph of herself, again.

On the day of her funeral, it started raining about eight o’clock that morning. It was to be only a short, graveside service—just like she wanted—with no open casket, and she specifically requested that no flowers be sent. It was the only request of hers I didn’t honor. I couldn’t bear the thought of that precious lady, who had lived and died all alone, being buried without flowers. It just wasn’t right, so I ordered the finest arrangement of yellow roses I could find. I thought the color was appropriate, considering how much she loved her yellow house on Monmouth Avenue, and she always liked roses. As I’ve matured, I’ve learned that sometimes people want things but just don’t know how to ask for them. I do believe Miss Emily would have liked those yellow roses.

It was a simple, Methodist prayer service that lasted only twenty minutes. No one cried during the service. I don’t think Miss Emily would have wanted that. It’s hard to cry for someone you don’t really know. But the old black people there seemed to know her as they passed by her casket after the last prayer. And when Reverend Elton read the quote from Saint Theresa (Miss Emily’s favorite saint), “Let nothing disturb you; let nothing frighten you. Everything passes except God. God alone is sufficient,” all the black people shouted a loud, “Amen!”

But the most intriguing thing of all was that gray-haired stranger who kept staring at the small headstone next to Miss Emily’s grave that read, “Baby Boy, 1942,” and who then stayed after everyone else had left. As we were leaving, I noticed from my car that the old man was crying. He picked a single yellow rose from the arrangement on top of Miss Emily’s bronze casket and then gently placed it on the small grave, in front of the headstone. When my wife and I drove away, I looked back before we left the cemetery. The gentleman was limping away in the rain with his cane.  

Before she died, Miss Emily had already disposed of most of her possessions, but there were two beautiful paintings and an antique rose vase still in her hospital room that she had left to a friend. She had given away all her clothes to a couple of nurses who promised they would take them to the Salvation Army for her, but I doubted that would ever happen. I remember commenting to Miss Emily years ago, when I was still a young lawyer, that a friend had once promised to retain our firm and then sought legal services elsewhere. Emily said, “Don’t put too much stock in other people, David—they’ll just disappoint you.”

As I was about to turn off the light and leave her empty room, I remembered the sewing box of letters in the bottom drawer of the nightstand next to her bed. I also remembered that wonderful old photograph of her leaning against a car on the beach, which she had shown me several years ago. I didn’t know why at the time, but I wanted that picture. I would keep it as a remembrance of this dear lady I had come to love.

I didn’t open the letter box until after I had returned to my office. I don’t know if Miss Emily would have liked my reading her letters, but I think I finally understand her now and why she died alone, though definitely not forgotten. I know I’ll never forget her. How could I?