Thursday, April 18, 2019

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Back Johnnie Alexander

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Back Johnnie Alexander


Linda:  Thanks for stopping by. Congratulations on your upcoming release, Match You Like Crazy which is part of the Resort to Romance series. What was your inspiration for that and how did the opportunity come along?

Johnnie: Authors Jill Kemerer and Jessica Patch came up with the premise for this delightful series. I didn’t hesitate a second when they asked me to join the group. All the titles needed to have the word match in them so that was my starting point. My mom, who died a few years ago, and her oldest grandson used to say to each other, “I miss you like crazy.” That was the inspiration for my title, Match You Like Crazy. The story idea flowed from there!

LM: You’ve done a lot of traveling. What has been your favorite trip thus far? And is there one special place you want to make sure you visit?

Johnnie: Two years ago, my sister and I landed in Barcelona, Spain with Eurail passes and a vague itinerary. For the next few days, we traveled by train from one European city to the next before flying to Lisbon where we stayed in a Home Away apartment for a week. We saw the ruins of a Roman coliseum in Nimes, ate lunch at sidewalk caf├ęs in Milan and Madrid, bought chocolate in Switzerland, and just had a great time.

We’re hoping to go to Vancouver in a year or so. I’ve never seen the Pacific.

LM: You’ve written historical and contemporary fiction. Do you prefer one genre over the other?

Johnnie: I always feel a bit like a mom with a favorite child answering this question. I mostly write contemporaries—and I love writing them—but my heart is with historicals. The World War II era is my favorite.

LM: Do you have a set routine to prepare for writing (e.g. listening to music, etc.) and is there a time of day you are more productive?

Johnnie: Usually I spend the morning taking care of emails, social media engagement, and my to-do list. But after lunch it’s just me and whatever world I’m inhabiting at the time. (Currently that’s eastern Tennessee in 1944.)

Chris Pratt (vanityfair.com)
LM: If your story was going to be made into a movie, who would you like to see play the main characters?

Johnnie: The main characters are based on and named for my son and his lovely girlfriend—Nate and Bre. Could they be in the movie?!?! One of the supporting characters is a Chris Pratt lookalike.

LM: What is one thing you’d like to learn how to do?

Johnnie: I’d like to learn how to write a screenplay. And play an Irish whistle.

LM: Here are some quickies:

Johnnie:
Favorite Season: Spring
Favorite childhood book: The Secret Garden
Favorite Bible verse: “Truly the light is sweet and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun” (Ecclesiastes 11:7).


LM: Can you tell us what writing projects are on your plate right now?

Johnnie: I’m writing a historical novella, “Blue Moon,” for Barbour’s Hometown Heroines Collection which will be released next year. My heroine is in a Women Officers of Public Safety unit (WOOPs) who goes undercover to find a saboteur at the atomic bomb research facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee during World War II.

Annie’s Fiction has contracted me to write three novels for their Inn at Magnolia Harbor series. These are light-hearted stories set in a bed-and-breakfast near Charleston, South Carolina. The first of those is drafted and the other two are outlined.

And . . . I’m very excited to be part of the Mosaic Collection, an international group of award-winning, best-selling authors writing contemporary novels in a variety of genres—romance, mystery and suspense, women’s fiction—which will be releasing once a month beginning this August.
Linda: Where can folks connect with you?

Johnnie: I mostly hang out on Facebook so please join me on my Author Page or Profile. For exclusive content and the chance to win fun prizes, please subscribe to my newsletter at http://wwwJohnnie-Alexander.com.



Match You Like Crazy Book Blurb:
They have everything in common. So why aren't they a perfect match?

Bre Fisher wishes she'd said no when her grandmother gave her a trip to Matchmaking Week, especially when Nate Hunter takes the seat beside her on the puddle-jumper to Joy Island. He's the last person she expected to see.

Nate figures he might as well not go home if Bre is his match. The longstanding business rivalry between their families makes romance with a Fisher impossible.

Yet in addition to the same family expectations and obligations, Bre and Nate have the same interests-maybe even the same dream.

Will a week on Joy Island spark another feud? Or prove they're a crazy perfect match? 

Pre-order (release 04/30/19): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ND4N2Q5

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Tabitha Bouldin

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Tabitha Bouldin


Starting a story has always been my favorite. Whether I’m reading a book or writing one of my own, the beginning always brings joy. There’s something special in the creating of something new, to know that God has trusted you with this talent. I want to use what He has given me beyond the best of my ability. Writing is a joint effort between me and God. There’s no way I could do it on my own. I need Him to help me, to show me where the story needs to be. This is where my current book came from. 

When I published my first book, I had no idea there would be a part two, much less a part three. That’s where I am now, editing book three for an August release. Without God, I never would have made it past that first book. I’ve learned so much in the past year, from God and from my author friends. I’ve made plenty of mistakes, but I’ve learned from each one, and Trial by Patience will be my best work yet.

About Tabitha: Tabitha grew up living in the country. She spent many summers riding horses and helping her family plant and grow their own food. As a result of this country life, she developed a love of animals, especially horses. This has led to a strong theme of horses in her books. Between the busy life of a stay-at-home mom and homeschool teacher of two children, she finished writing her first story. Five years later, Trial By Courage was published, followed by Trial by Faith. Trial by Patience will release in August 2019.


Book Blurb - Trial by Patience:
Danny Solomon owns and operates Break Away Acres, a horse stable that offers equine therapy to abused kids and teens. After suffering abuse of his own, Danny has made it his life’s mission to help others like himself. God gave him a gift: the ability to see the past through the eyes of those who have suffered.

Phoenix Nichols is his newest employee. At first glance, she seems to be more trouble than she’s worth. Her past continues to haunt her present, threatening not only her sanity but her life. When past and present collide, Danny is the only thing standing in the way. Can these two overcome their past and work together to build a future? Phoenix has never been able to trust anyone. In Danny, Phoenix recognizes the peace she has never been able to find.

Connect with Tabitha:

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Wartime Wednesday: Civilian Public Service


Wartime Wednesday: Civilian Public Service

“I was young and I wanted to show that I was not a coward,” said conscientious objector Neil Hartman. “So when they offered me this chance of being a guinea pig, it fit right in with my scheme of things of proving that I was willing to take risks on my own body, but I just did not want to kill someone else.”

Neil was just one of nearly 12,000 men who were part of the Civilian Public Service, a program started to handle the thousands of men who objected to the war on religious or philosophical grounds. These men were given the opportunity to perform work of “national importance,” and served around the country doing soil conservation, forestry, fire fighting, agriculture, and social and mental health services.

Another area in which approximately men volunteered was that of being “guinea pigs,” subjects in various medical experiments conducting at universities and hospitals. Some of the studies included:

Hepatitis: The men were inoculated with infected blood plasma and drank contaminated water. As a result of the study, a vaccine was devised to combat the disease, but lives were lost in the process.
Malaria: The subjects allowed themselves to be bitten by malarial mosquitoes and when the fever reached its peak, were given experimental treatments. The research documented the effects of the disease and the time required for complete recovery.

Starvation Experiment: Conducted at the University of Minnesota, this study is perhaps the most famous of the research done during WWII. Thirty-six men were placed on a controlled diet. Initially provided with normal caloric intake for three months, they were then given a diet of 1,800 calories – fewer calories than experienced by the civilian population in wartime Europe. The study then followed the men’s long recovery as they returned to a normal died. The war was over by the time the experiment concluded, and it was a key component in helping shape European reconstruction through the Marshall Plan.
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A prostitute, a spy, and the liberation of Paris.

Sold by her parents to settle a debt, Rolande Bisset is forced into prostitution. Years later, shunned by her family and most of society, it’s the only way she knows how to subsist. When the Germans overrun Paris, she decides she’s had enough of evil men controlling her life and uses her wiles to obtain information for the Allied forces. Branded a collaborator, her life hangs in the balance. Then an American spy stumbles onto her doorstep. Is redemption within her grasp?

Simon Harlow is one of an elite corps of American soldiers. Regularly chosen for dangerous covert missions, he is tasked with infiltrating Paris to ascertain the Axis’s defenses. Nearly caught by German forces moments after arriving, he owes his life to the beautiful prostitute who claims she’s been waiting for the Allies to arrive. Her lifestyle goes against everything he believes in, but will she steal his heart during his quest to liberate her city?

Inspired by the biblical story of Rahab, Love’s Rescue is a tale of faith and hope during one of history’s darkest periods.

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/2VtLRN8



Thursday, April 4, 2019

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Pat Jeanne Davis


Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Pat Jeanne Davis

Linda: Thanks for joining me today. Congratulations on the release of your debut novel, When Valleys Bloom Again. You live in Philadelphia which is steep in colonial history. What made you decided to write a book set during WWII, and what was your inspiration for the story?

Pat: Thank you for having me as a guest on your blog.

Philadelphia in addition to being rich in colonial history was the site of a large and busy shipyard during World War II. The city is situated at the confluence of the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers. The Naval Shipyard had its greatest period during WWII when it employed 40,000 people who built 53 ships and repaired 574. During this time, the yard built the famed battleships, USS New Jersey and its 45,000-ton sister ship, USS Wisconsin.

I was born in Philadelphia after the post-war period. I had family that had served in the European Theater. When war was declared by England in 1939, my father-in-law was conscripted into the British Eight Army and served his country until 1946. I’ve had a keen interest in this period of history and wanted to some day write a faith based novel with an Anglo-American connection. A portion of my novel is set in England as well as in the US.

I found an opening for When Valleys Bloom Again after reading a book on the life of Kathleen Kennedy, daughter of Joseph P. Kennedy, the United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom. He and his family were living in London when Britain declared war. Kathleen Kennedy’s story intrigued me. She was forced by her father to return to the US for her safety. Kathleen had made many friends while living in London and was determined to return some day. She eventually did go back, served in the British Red Cross and married William Cavendish who was in line to become the next Duke of Devonshire. Sadly, he died in battle a few months after their marriage.

I based my protagonist, Abby Stapleton, loosely on Kathleen Kennedy’s situation at the outbreak of war in 1939. Abby is the American-born daughter of a British diplomat. Her father sends her back to the US to escape impending war. She too vows to return to London.

LM: The age old question for writers – are you a planner or a “pantster,” and what is your favorite part of the writing process?

Pat: I tend to be more of a planner. I enjoy the editing more than the actual writing.

 LM: Research is a large part of any book. How did you go about researching When Valleys Bloom Again and did you discover any extra special tidbits of information?

Pat: In the beginning, I took out books written about World War II from my local library. While in England doing research for When Valleys Bloom Again, I visited Chatsworth House, the home of the present Duke of Devonshire. I found the grave of Kathleen Kennedy in St. Peter’s Churchyard, not far from Chatsworth House. She too died tragically shortly after peace was declared. I learned from the guide at Chatsworth House that in 1963 President John Kennedy had visited his sister Kathleen’s grave site while on his way home from a trip to Ireland, only six months before his assassination. He and his sister had been very close throughout her life. Standing before Kathleen’s grave, I could only image the sorrow President Kennedy felt.

During my research trips to England, I visited an actual air raid shelter, airfields, war museums, and Churchill War Room in London. I also interviewed veterans of WWII in both the UK and US.

LM: What is one thing you wish you knew how to do?

Pat: As an introvert, I find it difficult to speak before an audience. I’d love to have the ability to speak with ease publicly. This would make author talks and signings less stressful.

LM: If money were no object, what is your idea of the ultimate vacation?

Pat: To spend a month on the South Coast of England, living in a self catering cottage.

LM: Here are some quickies:

Favorite movie: There are so many, but high up on the list is North and South, the British TV drama based on Elizabeth Gaskell’s book.

Favorite childhood book: The Little House on the Prairie series.

LM: What is your next project?

Pat: Finishing a novel set in the Progressive Era, a time of social reform and the continued struggle for the right of women to vote. My heroine works in a settlement house helping immigrants adjust to life in their new country. Against the wishes of her father and her intended in marriage, she joins the suffrage movement and campaigns for the rights of women and children.

LM: Where can folks find you on the web?


About the book: As war approaches in 1939 Abby Stapleton’s safety is under threat. Her father, a British diplomat, insists she go back to America until the danger passes. Abby vows to return to her home in London—but where is home? With her family facing mortal danger so far away and feeling herself isolated, she finds it hard to pray or read the Bible. Did she leave God behind in war-torn London too? Abby becomes friendly with Jim, a gardener on her uncle’s estate. 

Jim can’t get Abby out of his mind. Did she have a sweetheart in England? Was it foolish to think she’d consider him? He curses his poverty and the disgrace of his father’s desertion and drunkenness haunts him. Can he learn to believe in love for a lifetime and to hope for a happy marriage?

Abby couldn’t know the war would last a long time, nor that she would fall in love with Jim—soon to be drafted by the U.S. Army—or that she’d have to confront Henri, a rejected suitor, determined by his lies to ruin her reputation and destroy her faith in God’s providence. Will she discover the true meaning of home and find happiness with Jim?

Purchase Links:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MVV5TSN


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Traveling Tuesday: Connecticut Does its Bit


Traveling Tuesday: Connecticut Does its Bit


Source: Wikipedia
Despite being the third smallest state, Connecticut is geographically diverse, creating a variety of industry opportunities. With its location on the Long Island Sound as well as the Connecticut and Thames Rivers, the state also has a long maritime history. Originally settled by the Dutch, Connecticut became the fifth state of the union and is named for an Algonquin word meaning “long tidal river.”

Well-known for its housing of financial and insurance industry companies, Connecticut also hosts myriad companies who converted their production facilities to manufacture war materiel. The state produced approximately four percent of the country’s military armaments, putting it ninth on the list among the forty-eight states (remember, Alaska and Hawaii didn’t become states until 1959).

Colt manufactured firearms, Pratt & Whitney made aircraft engines, Chance Vought produced fighters planes, Hamilton Standard put out propellers and Electric Boat made submarines and PT boats. The E. Ingraham Company went from producing clocks and watches to anti-aircraft and artillery fuses. Textile companies stopped making wool dress coats in favor of producing pea coats for the military.

With the U.S. Coast Guard Academy located in New London, thousands of seamen were trained. In addition, there were several Naval, Army, and Army Air Force installations throughout the state.
Like other states, Connecticut saved its scrap, purchased war bonds, collected blood, and rolled bandages. Blackout curtains were installed, plane spotters volunteered, and air raid wardens walked their posts. Women joined the uniformed auxiliary services and went to work in the factories.

They also headed to the fields. The Women’s Land Army put about 20,000 Farmerettes to work during WWII. Mrs. Joseph Alsop reorganized the WLA in 1942 through of the University of Connecticut. Success was immediate. With only eight days notice, a group of 80 workers picked 50,000 quarts of strawberries. Vegetables were picked in Southington and apples in Litchfield.

A small state, but a big contribution. Have you ever visited Connecticut?

___________________________________________

A prostitute, a spy, and the liberation of Paris.

Sold by her parents to settle a debt, Rolande Bisset is forced into prostitution. Years later, shunned by her family and most of society, it’s the only way she knows how to subsist. When the Germans overrun Paris, she decides she’s had enough of evil men controlling her life and uses her wiles to obtain information for the Allied forces. Branded a collaborator, her life hangs in the balance. Then an American spy stumbles onto her doorstep. Is redemption within her grasp?

Simon Harlow is one of an elite corps of American soldiers. Regularly chosen for dangerous covert missions, he is tasked with infiltrating Paris to ascertain the Axis’s defenses. Nearly caught by German forces moments after arriving, he owes his life to the beautiful prostitute who claims she’s been waiting for the Allies to arrive. Her lifestyle goes against everything he believes in, but will she steal his heart during his quest to liberate her city?

Inspired by the biblical story of Rahab, Love’s Rescue is a tale of faith and hope during one of history’s darkest periods.

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/2WzDvDM









Friday, March 29, 2019

Forensic Friday: Forensics 101


Forensic Friday: Forensics 101

It’s been a while since I posted anything about Forensics, but I found a textbook while prowling around the wonderful Friends of the Belleview Library Book Nook during a visit to Florida to see family and thought I’d share some basics. I probably would have picked up more than the five books I did if I didn’t have to fit them in my luggage!

Television shows like NCIS and CSI created an avid interest of forensics by the general public. The shows are fascinating, and at some level, well-done, but no crime is solved in forty minutes with commercials, and the lab work and associated results take much longer than people realize. One concept the shows do justice to is that no matter how "empty" a crime scene appears, there are myriad tiny pieces of evidence that can be gathered. These items are called trace evidence.


Unlike the television show, “real world” forensic science is rarely tooth-and-nail drama. CSI specialists do exist, but scientists rarely investigate the crime scene, and they almost never interrogate witnesses. Most specialists work under carefully controlled conditions in well-stocked labs.

Forensics are used to help legal cases, both criminal and civil. Evidence can be biological, chemical, or physical. The FBI maintains a handbook of forensic methods and techniques for use by all U.S. states, and most crime labs refer to it as the definitive standard for the analysis of evidence.

The earliest recorded use of forensic science dates back to ancient China where people used fingerprints as proof of identity in barters. The first text referring to the use of forensic science techniques is Hsi Duan Yu (translated the washing away of wrongs) published around 700 BC. Over the centuries forensics made great strides as technology improved, and in the last few decades the field had grown rapidly. And rather than one super-detective like Sherlock Holmes who used his extensive knowledge of forensics to solve a crime, the professional forensic scientist is one link in a long chain that handles and examines physical evidence.


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A prostitute, a spy, and the liberation of Paris.

Sold by her parents to settle a debt, Rolande Bisset is forced into prostitution. Years later, shunned by her family and most of society, it’s the only way she knows how to subsist. When the Germans overrun Paris, she decides she’s had enough of evil men controlling her life and uses her wiles to obtain information for the Allied forces. Branded a collaborator, her life hangs in the balance. Then an American spy stumbles onto her doorstep. Is redemption within her grasp?

Simon Harlow is one of an elite corps of American soldiers. Regularly chosen for dangerous covert missions, he is tasked with infiltrating Paris to ascertain the Axis’s defenses. Nearly caught by German forces moments after arriving, he owes his life to the beautiful prostitute who claims she’s been waiting for the Allies to arrive. Her lifestyle goes against everything he believes in, but will she steal his heart during his quest to liberate her city?

Inspired by the biblical story of Rahab, Love’s Rescue is a tale of faith and hope during one of history’s darkest periods.

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/2WiVLRN


Thursday, March 28, 2019

Talkshow Thursday: Debut Author Eric Landfried


Talkshow Thursday: Debut Author Eric Landfried

Linda:  Welcome and thanks for joining me today. Congratulations on the release of your debut novel, Solitary Man. According to your website you’ve had stories “bumping around in your head” since you were a teen. How did you decide which novel to finish and what was your inspiration for the story?

Eric: Solitary Man came about as I was thinking about the Mad Max films and other post-apocalyptic stories and noting the lack of Christian or even religious characters. And if they did have them, it was typically some lunatic used for comic relief. That’s when I had the thought of dropping a faithful Christian into a universe like that and imagining what it would look like.

Once this idea came to me, it really developed and came together so quickly that it pushed all other ideas to the back of my mind and I zeroed in on writing it. I had knee surgery in early 2015 and was unable to work for three months, and that’s when I really attacked the story, banging out the first complete draft.

LM: How did you come up with your characters? Are they based on any real people in your life?

Eric: Since the idea came from movies I’d seen, I initially envisioned Solitary Man as a screenplay, but the story kept growing and I soon had too much for a single movie to hold. That movie connection inspired my vision of Doyle, a tough, older man who I based on older versions of the 80’s action heroes I grew up watching like Schwarzenegger or Stallone. On the other hand, the character of Jonathan is basically me injecting myself into the story, though Jonathan is far more courageous in proclaiming the Gospel than I am. The funny thing about that is that my wife says she sees me in both characters.

LM: Research is an important part of writing. How did you go about researching Solitary Man and did you find any special tidbits you knew you had to include?

Eric: I was aware that Navy SEALs were tough soldiers, so I decided to make Doyle a former SEAL. To learn more about them, I read Warrior Soul by Chuck Pfarrer, a memoir of Pfarrer’s time in the SEALs. He had some interesting moments like local tough guys coming into the bar where they were hanging out and trying to pick fights with the SEALs. That kind of inspired the character of Hawk who becomes a thorn in Doyle’s side.

Since I include a scene where Jonathan debates someone who is somewhere between agnostic and atheist, I studied up on apologetics, focusing in on the presuppositional apologetics of men like Cornelius Van Til and Greg Bahnsen. I also read John Piper’s A Peculiar Glory which explains how the Bible proves itself to be true. I incorporated many points and facts from these resources into the story.

LM: What is something you want your readers to know about your main character?

Eric: It was important to me that both my lead characters feel like real people. I knew that as a Christian, Jonathan would have plenty to offer Doyle, but I wanted Doyle to be able to teach Jonathan as well. This is why I gave Jonathan a theological blind spot that Doyle, even as an unbeliever, would be able to notice and explain its inconsistency when comparing it to the rest of Jonathan’s faith. So I guess I want the readers to realize that these two men are both broken sinners, and therefore not everything they do is perfect, but one has trusted in the perfect sacrifice of Jesus, and it makes all the difference in the story.

LM: What do you do to prepare yourself for writing? For example do you listen to music or set up in a specific place?

Eric: My day job, my family, and my church eat up a lot of time, so finding writing time was hard until I forced myself to be disciplined about it. Every weekday, I get up at 5 AM when no one else is awake and I sit on the couch with my laptop (feet propped on the antique trunk we use for a coffee table) and I write. I use dictation software since my brain thinks much faster than my fingers can type, and since I’m wearing a headset, I’ll usually stream some music as background noise. I typically get about 60 to 90 minutes of quiet time, and each day is different. Sometimes I’m on a roll and knock out a thousand words and sometimes it’s just a few hundred. The important thing is that it’s progress. Even when I’m doing research and get no writing done, it’s still progress as long as it’s contributing to the story.

LM: What one thing would you like to learn how to do?

Eric: I don’t think there’s a burning desire for anything at this point, but I’ve always been fascinated with movies and filming, so I would definitely be interested in learning that process and maybe someday directing my own film.

LM: Quickies:
Eric:
Favorite movie: Tough to choose just one, but I find Die Hard imminently rewatchable. I’ve seen it so many times. (Plus, Bruce Willis would make an excellent Doyle.)

Favorite author: Again, hard to choose, but there’s something about Mark Twain that keeps me coming back to his books.

Favorite food: Hand me a bacon cheeseburger with all the right toppings, and I’ll be your best friend for life.

LM: What is your next project?

Eric: I’m currently 25,000 words deep into a sequel for Solitary Man. As of right now, it’s untitled, but I’d like to stay with the __________ Man theme. Just need to find the perfect adjective. It pretty much had to be next because while Solitary Man has what I believe is a satisfying ending, there will be questions in the readers’ minds, and I’m nice enough to not keep them waiting any longer than I have to.

LM: Where can folks find you on the web?

Eric: Folks can find me on Facebook (@ericlandfriedauthor), on Twitter (@e_landfried) and on Instagram (@ericlandfried). As far as getting Solitary Man, they can order from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Christian Book Distributors. They can also visit my website (ericlandfried.com) and order signed copies directly from me. And of course, they’re welcome to email me at eric@ericlandfried.com.

About the book: 

Ten years after a brutal war, cannibals and humans fight over the pieces of a hardscrabble existence.

Former Navy SEAL Doyle has been prowling the broken remnants of a devastated America for years. Alone in an armored bus loaded with weapons and supplies, he’s grateful for his solitude. Being alone makes it easier to survive, as others can become a liability in the end of the world. But when a particularly brutal attack leaves Doyle in need of fuel and repair, he has no choice but to venture into the nearest settlement.

Jonathan has been pastoring a small church of Christians in that same settlement, but when he meets Doyle he sees an opportunity to expand his ministry. Cannibals have kept everyone from traveling, but Doyle’s armored transport and weapons bring hope to his small band of followers. The two men strike up a mutually beneficial bargain, but neither of them realizes that this journey will change them in ways they could never have imagined.

As they search for other believers, they must battle cannibals, militant atheists, and a mysterious super soldier. Doyle’s unbelief and Jonathan’s faith will collide in this action-packed wasteland.

Solitary Man is a gritty, action-packed post-apocalyptic story with a solid, Biblical worldview.