Will the Real Hero Please Stand Up

Back from his whirlwind tour of the international blogging circuit is the self-proclaimed hero of Identity Withheld. Since he received such a warm response at ICFW, I thought I’d invite him for a repeat performance here.

Golden_Doodle_2 Sandra: Rusty, could you start by telling us about yourself?

Rusty: I’m a really, really, really good dog. Don’t pay no attention to what Tommy’s dad, Jake, says. He’s a firefighter and gets hot under the collar just because I chew a shoe or corner of the couch or something. His parents adopted me for their grandson Tommy who is the nicest boy on the face of the earth. I live with them, next door to Tommy and Jake. Tommy’s mom died not long after he was born so Tommy’s at his grandparents a lot when his dad’s working, and we play and play and play.

Sandra: I hear you took a shine to Kara Grant, too, when Jake brought her to his parents after her house burned down and she had nowhere to go.

Rusty: Oh, yes, I loooooove Kara. She understands dogs. I could tell she was sad so I sat right down beside her and let her cry into my fur and she let me sleep on her bed with her. And she taught my person, Tommy, how to train me so his dad wouldn’t get so mad at me. Of course, I didn’t listen when she told me to stay before she went out for a jog, because I sensed she wasn’t coming back and I knew that would make Tommy real sad.

Sandra: So what did you do?

Rusty: I chased after her. And it worked! She came back to the house to stay a while longer. But…she was more scared than ever, because bad guys are after her.

Sandra: Did Jake have a new respect for you after that, too?

Rusty: More like he was jealous that Kara was always hugging me instead of him.<big, tongue-lolling grin> But after that, at least, he figured “I was smarter than I looked.” Although…I think I look adorable. Don’t you?

Sandra: Absolutely. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

Rusty: I don’t want to give away the story, but everyone keeps calling Jake the hero, when I should get top billing. Kara fell in love with me the first time she laid eyes on me and… <glances from side to side and lowers his voice> if you read Identity Withheld, I’m sure you’ll agree that it wouldn’t be much of a story without me.

Sandra: I agree! Thank you Rusty for visiting us. Blog Readers, if you’d like to explore more bonus features of Identity Withheld, including interviews with Jake and Kara, deleted scenes and more, please click here for “Sandra Orchard’s Bonus Features Page

You’ll also find a scrumptious pumpkin muffin recipe. Sending out Happy Thanksgiving best wishes for all my American readers, which…happens to be the day Identity Withheld begins. Have a blessed week!

Who Are You Really?

If you witnessed a crime and reporting it meant you might be targeted by the criminals, would you report it?

That’s the dilemma Nicole faced before the opening of my newest release, Identity Withheld. Her boyfriend tried to talk theIdentity Withheld young kindergarten teacher out of reporting what she believed was a baby being sold, but her conscience wouldn’t allow her to turn a blind eye to what she’d seen.

The Consequence?

The bad guys targeted her and she was compelled to go into witness protection.

The deputy marshal handling her case warned her to never tell anyone who she really was and to trust no one, because the person could be luring her into a false sense of security.

Have you ever confided in someone and later regretted it?

I have.

Could you imagine second guessing everything you said to every person in your life?

If you allowed yourself to fall in love, how would you feel knowing the person loving you back doesn’t even know who you really are?

Or is that true for most of us these days?

Do we only let people see what we want them to see? Or what the world tells us we should be?

ID-10012566_woman in maskOftentimes we don’t even realize how we’re misleading people (maybe even ourselves).

In new relationships, it’s natural to enthusiastically participate in activities that don’t particularly interest us, because they are an opportunity to spend time with the person we’re attracted to. But are we duping the person into believing we share their interests?

Maybe that football fanatic husband has grounds to be resentful after the wedding.

In Identity Withheld, Nicole was given a new name, a new job, a new state to live, her ties to all her friends and relatives were cut, and she was told who to be.

Could you stay true to yourself in that situation?

We actually face it daily on many levels—at school, at work, at church, at home.

Experts, peers, family, friends, the media all tell us how we should act and how we shouldn’t; what we should value; how we should spend our money; what we should think.

Nicole moves to the new state and adopts the new name and the new job. Her faith and fortitude are tested in countless ways.

Thankfully, the kind of tests she faces don’t happen to most of us. But our faith and fortitude are constantly tested, too. Often in subtle ways.

-Being tempted to tell a little white lie to whitewash something we did or didn’t do
-Hearing a friend or colleague or family member say something against God, something we should speak up against

Read Identity Withheld to see if Nicole ultimately turns her back on who she really is.

For yourself, decide who you really are and stay true to it.

Your Turn: What or who has helped you stay true to yourself (or the person you know God wants you to be) in a difficult situation?


Masked woman image courtesy of graur codrin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

5 Tips that Could Save Your Life and Those You Love

The cooler winter months tend to bring with them more home fires than any other time of year, so I’ve invited firefighter, Jake Steele, the hero of my new release, Identity Withheld to share his top five fire safety tips that he wished every family would implement.

Because the actions you take before firefighters arrive is what will save your life.

image of fire

1) Maintain working smoke detectors outside all bedrooms in your home and a carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home.

Did you catch the maintain part? That means:
-vacuum the dust from them regularly
-install fresh batteries in them TODAY

2) Plan your escape route in case of fire. Practice it. Designate a specific place outside your home where family members will meet.

3) Keep bedroom doors closed at night to slow the spread of fire.

4) Do not leave candles or cooking unattended. Fires can flare up in an instant.

5) Check that your chimneys and vents are clear to allow proper ventilation of deadly gases.

Do you fight the fire or flee?

If the fire is confined to a small area such as a frying pan or trash can and is not spreading, the room is not filled with smoke, and/or you need to move past it to escape, then attempt to extinguish it by an appropriate method:

-A lid on a frying pan to deny the fire oxygen.
-Water on solid fuels such as paper, wood or cloth, but never on oils, gases or electrical fires
-Baking soda or fire extinguisher for class B and C fires.

If the fire extinguisher runs out, smoke fills the room, the fire begins to spread or firefighters arrive, leave immediately.

Your Turn: Have you implemented Jake’s tips?

Fire Image courtesy of Sailom at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

About Identity Withheld:  Book Cover for Identity Withheld


After exposing an illegal adoption ring, newly named “Kara Grant” is promised safety in Witness Protection. But someone has found her—and wants her dead. If only she could trust the handsome firefighter who catches her fleeing from a suspicious fire. Jake Steele seems to think she’s guilty of burning her own home. But how can she tell him who she really is and what she’s been through without bringing danger to the widowed father’s door? Yet with the criminals fast closing in, taking such a risk might be her only chance at survival. Because the price she’ll pay for her silence could be her life.

Click Book Cover Image to enter this week’s giveaway!