Please Join the Pastor Stephen Grant Email List!

Please Join the Pastor Stephen Grant Email List!
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Pastor Stephen Grant?

Stephen Grant is the pastor at St. Mary’s Lutheran Church on eastern Long Island. Grant is one of the more unique second-career clergy around, as he once worked for the CIA. Besides theology, his interests include archery, golf, writing, classic films, the beach, poker, baseball, and history. Grant also knows his wines, champagnes and brews. Oh yes, he generally dislikes politicians, and happens to be an expert marksman with a handgun and a rifle, while being pretty handy with a combat knife as well.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

5-Stars for THE RIVER: Read An Excerpt

New 5-star Amazon review of THE RIVER: A PASTOR STEPHEN GRANT NOVEL says:

"I am currently on book 6 of the Pastor Stephen Grant series, but the fourth book, The River, stands out as my favorite. The reveal of who the culprits are towards the end was surprising but also made a lot of sense... An excellent book."




Thursday, June 13, 2019

3 Reasons for Reading the Pastor Stephen Grant Mysteries/Thrillers: More Praise from Reviewers for the Pastor Stephen Grant Book of the Month – WINE INTO WATER

Again, why should you buy WINE INTO WATER, which is the Pastor Stephen Grant Book of the Month for June? Yes, the Kindle price has been slashed from $6.99 to $2.99. And signed books and sets are on sale at  https://raykeatingonline.com/t/book-of-the-month.


But consider three more thumbs-up from noteworthy reviewers...

"Part thriller and part mystery, Wine into Water is full of action, suspense and an electric cast of characters - both villainous and heroic - that will satisfy fans of crime thrillers." - Self-Publishing Review

"Grant's finely acquired wine tasting skills come into play here as he takes notice of distinct hint of vanilla in a Merlot. Intrigued? You should be as this novel again grabs hold of the reader and accelerates to a unexpected ending. Buy it! Read it! Enjoy it! Gift it!"  - Rod Zwonitzer, retired host of KFUO's "BookTalk" 

"This is yet another fun thriller from Ray Keating. I loved learning more about the wine industry, and Mr. Keating did a great job weaving church history and communion-use throughout...” - Mary J. Moerbe, author of Blessed: God's Gift of Love and Family Vocation

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Spy Stuff: Russian Response to “Chernobyl” Miniseries? Blame the CIA

I haven’t had the chance yet to watch HBO’s miniseries “Chernobyl,” a dramatization of the 1986 Soviet Union nuclear reactor disaster, but apparently the Russian government has. And it seems that President Vladimir Putin isn’t happy.


According to The Washington Post, a pro-Kremlin company is in postproduction on a Russian answer to the HBO series. And the Russian government provided some financing for the series. 

Just in case one thinks that things have changed significantly in Russia, the country, under Putin, who was a KGB officer, still likes to re-write history. So, rather than blame human error and faulty designs, as was the case, why not point fingers at – yes, you guessed it – the CIA? 

As the Post notes, “The Russian series apparently is part of this patriotic pushback. According to the [Moscow] Times, the production will be anchored in the premise that a CIA operative was at Chernobyl conducting sabotage. The series follows a group of KGB officials working to track down the infiltrator.”

Same old Russia?

- Ray Keating


Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The New Pastor Stephen Grant Novel – DEEP ROUGH – Available for Pre-Order Now!

One man faces challenges as a pastor in China. His son has become a breakout phenom in the world of professional golf. The Chinese government is displeased with both, and their lives are in danger.  

Stephen Grant – a onetime Navy SEAL, former CIA operative and current pastor – has a history with the communist Chinese, while also claiming a pretty solid golf game. His unique experience and skills unexpectedly put him alongside old friends; at some of golf’s biggest tournaments as a caddy and bodyguard; and in the middle of an international struggle over Christian persecution, a mission of revenge, and a battle between good and evil. (Publication date: July 16th)

Pre-order the Kindle edition...



Or pre-order signed books...



Thursday, June 6, 2019

3 Reasons for Reading the Pastor Stephen Grant Mysteries/Thrillers: Thumbs Up from Reviewers for the Pastor Stephen Grant Book of the Month – WINE INTO WATER

So, why should you buy WINE INTO WATER, which is the Pastor Stephen Grant Book of the Month for June? Of course, the Kindle price has been slashed from $6.99 to $2.99. And signed books and sets are on sale at  https://raykeatingonline.com/t/book-of-the-month.


But consider three thumbs-up from noteworthy reviewers...

1) "A first-rate mystery makes this a series standout..."  - Kirkus Reviews

2) "In this, Ray Keating's sixth novel featuring Pastor Stephen Grant, we discover that the always intriguing former Navy Seal and CIA operative is also a world class wine aficionado. This comes in handy as the pastor is once again forced to divide his time between his understanding wife, the needs of his church and congregation, and what some describe as his 'hobby' of joining the fray to assist colleagues from his past life when called upon. Grant is a wonderful character and Wine Into Water is a great read."  - David Keene, Opinion Editor, The Washington Times

3) "When Grant's around, nobody messes with the communion wine."  - Russ Saltzman, Aleteia.org

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Spy Stuff: How Does One of Your Neighbors Become a Spy?

Many stories can be found of otherwise seemingly solid folks becoming spies for America’s enemies. How does that happen?


The FBI offers some interesting insights in “The Case of the Friendly Neighborhood Spy.” The story of William Holden Bell being lured in by Marian Zacharski to hand over secrets to the Polish government, then firmly in the camp of the Soviet Union, is a classic case of a foreign agent preying on an individual in tough circumstances.

Toward the end of this interesting read, it’s noted: “Bell’s betrayal of his country mirrors the story of many others ensnared by foreign spies both past and present. Over time, vulnerable Americans are drawn in with money, companionship, attention, and other “carrots” in exchange for information, which gradually increases in importance, classification level, and quantity.”

- Ray Keating



Saturday, June 1, 2019

WINE INTO WATER: The Pastor Stephen Grant Book of the Month for June with the Kindle Price Slashed from $6.99 to $2.99!

Blood, wine, sin, justice and forgiveness… Who knew the wine business could be so sordid and violent? That’s what happens when it's infiltrated by counterfeiters. A Lutheran pastor, once a Navy SEAL and CIA operative, is pulled into action to help unravel a mystery involving fake wine, murder and revenge. Stephen Grant is called to take on evil, while staying rooted in his life as a pastor.


Among the positive reviews for WINE INTO WATER...

"A first-rate mystery makes this a series standout..."  - Kirkus Reviews

"In this, Ray Keating's sixth novel featuring Pastor Stephen Grant, we discover that the always intriguing former Navy Seal and CIA operative is also a world class wine aficionado. This comes in handy as the pastor is once again forced to divide his time between his understanding wife, the needs of his church and congregation, and what some describe as his 'hobby' of joining the fray to assist colleagues from his past life when called upon. Grant is a wonderful character and Wine Into Water is a great read."  - David Keene, Opinion Editor, The Washington Times

"When Grant's around, nobody messes with the communion wine."  - Russ Saltzman, Aleteia.org

"Part thriller and part mystery, Wine into Water is full of action, suspense and an electric cast of characters - both villainous and heroic - that will satisfy fans of crime thrillers."  - Self-Publishing Review

"Grant's finely acquired wine tasting skills come into play here as he takes notice of distinct hint of vanilla in a Merlot. Intrigued? You should be as this novel again grabs hold of the reader and accelerates to a unexpected ending. Buy it! Read it! Enjoy it! Gift it!"  - Rod Zwonitzer, retired host of KFUO's "BookTalk" 

"This is yet another fun thriller from Ray Keating. I loved learning more about the wine industry, and Mr. Keating did a great job weaving church history and communion-use throughout...” - Mary J. Moerbe, author of Blessed: God's Gift of Love and Family Vocation

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

3 Reasons for Reading the Pastor Stephen Grant Mysteries/Thrillers: Perfect Time for SHIFTING SANDS

Here are three reasons why right now is the right time for reading SHIFTING SANDS: A PASTOR STEPHEN GRANT SHORT STORY...

1. SHIFTING SANDS revolves around a pro beach volleyball tournament happening on the West Side of Manhattan. Well, guess what? The AVP Beach Volleyball’s New York City Open is happening on June 7-9. What better way to get ready than to enjoy SHIFTING SANDS? Check out info on the New York City Open here.

2. Until the end of May, SHIFTING SANDS is the Pastor Stephen Grant Book of the Month. That means there are great deals on signed books and sets at https://raykeatingonline.com/t/book-of-the-month.



3. Through the end of May, the Kindle price of SHIFTING SANDS has been cut from $3.99 to $2.99. Grab it right now!



Reviewer Quote of the Day: Pastor Stephen Grant Novels and Short Stories


Get all of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels and short stories by Ray Keating in paperbacks or for the Kindle at https://www.amazon.com/Warrior-Monk-Pastor-Stephen-Grant/dp/1793144745/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=, and signed books at www.raykeatingonline.com.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

3 Reasons for Reading the Pastor Stephen Grant Mysteries/Thrillers: Get Caught Up on All 10 Novels and Short Stories Because More Are on the Way from Ray Keating!


If you haven’t caught up on reading all of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels and short stories, this is an ideal to get caught up on the fun. Why? Because Ray Keating is at various stages of working on the next THREE books. Here are the tentative titles...

1. Deep Rough: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel


2. The Traitor: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story


3. Vatican Shadows: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel

Reviewer Quote of the Day: Pastor Stephen Grant Novels and Short Stories


Get all of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels and short stories by Ray Keating in paperbacks or for the Kindle at https://www.amazon.com/Warrior-Monk-Pastor-Stephen-Grant/dp/1793144745/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=, and signed books at www.raykeatingonline.com.

Are You Ready for the Next Pastor Stephen Grant Novel?

Get all of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels and short stories by Ray Keating in paperbacks or for the Kindle at https://www.amazon.com/Warrior-Monk-Pastor-Stephen-Grant/dp/1793144745/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=, and signed books at www.raykeatingonline.com.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

4 Quick and Cool Points on the Beach Volleyball Court in SHIFTING SANDS

SHIFTING SANDS: A PASTOR STEPHEN GRANT SHORT STORY is the May Pastor Stephen Grant Book of the Month. That means the Kindle edition price has been slashed from $3.99 to $2.99. Go to https://www.amazon.com/Shifting-Sands-Pastor-Stephen-Grant-ebook/dp/B07KDYH5NY/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=.
Sale on signed books and sets at https://raykeatingonline.com/t/book-of-the-month



Check out 4 volleyball points on the sand from the book...

• “Ambler, with her long blond hair pulled back in a ponytail, offered another quality serve, but this time Gale responded with an impressive dig. Sackett then provided a near-perfect set as Gale returned to her feet. On one side of the net, Gale, in a dark blue bikini, jumped into the air, with the tall Ambler, sporting her team’s bright yellow bikini, doing the same on the other side. Gale went for the spike, and Ambler for the block. Ambler’s quick thinking, height and formidable leaping ability went a long way in making up for her team’s relative inexperience. At first, it appeared that Ambler’s block was successful, but after the ball ricocheted off her right hand, it hit the sand a few inches out of bounds.”

• “Khan handled the serve, and an extended rally ensued, filled with spikes, digs and blocks – all appreciated by the crowd – until Gale lofted a soft shot over both Khan and Ambler, who were out of position after managing to return a spike by Sackett. The ball landed in a back corner of the court.”

• “With her back to the net, West backpedaled, glanced over her shoulder at the opponents, looked up at the ball, and then leaped high into the air. With her back still to the net, she swung her right hand into the air, and attempted a blind spike over her shoulder.”

• “On the court, Sackett provided a perfect set for Gale, who jumped in the air, and struck the ball that eluded Ambler’s block. But West managed a full extension dig, and kept the point going.”

Reviewer Quote of the Day: Pastor Stephen Grant Novels and Short Stories


Get all of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels and short stories by Ray Keating in paperbacks or for the Kindle at https://www.amazon.com/Warrior-Monk-Pastor-Stephen-Grant/dp/1793144745/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=, and signed books at www.raykeatingonline.com.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Spy Stuff: CIA Recruits at a Comic-Con

Heroes and Villains: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story sees Stephen Grant – former Navy SEAL and CIA operative – attending a local comic-con, where he takes on evildoers with the help of some new friends and heroes. But in case you think this lies too far outside the realm of reality, consider that the CIA set up a booth at Awesome Con in Washington.


Photo courtesy of WJCT.org and Greg Myre/NPR


As reported by WJCT: “Not exactly the place you'd expect a CIA discussion on recruiting foreign spies. And yet CIA staff historian Randy Burkett, wearing khakis and a polo shirt with the CIA logo, was doing exactly that.”

That’s interesting. But no doubt, not as much fun as Heroes and Villains!

- Ray Keating


Monday, May 13, 2019

Celebrate May 13th Pub Anniversary of THE RIVER

Celebrate the May 13th publication anniversary of THE RIVER: A PASTOR STEPHEN GRANT NOVEL. If you haven't read it yet, grab it today. 


Average Amazon review is 4.3 stars out of 5. And among the positive reviews, Kirkus Reviews says, "A gritty, action-stuffed, well-considered thriller with a gun-toting clergyman."


Signed books at www.raykeatingonline.com

Pastor Stephen Grant Character Quote of the Week from REAGAN COUNTRY


The Pastor Stephen Grant Character Quote from REAGAN COUNTRY...

Coz continued, “Besides, did you get a look at our State Department dynamic duo? Henning and Hundley are not exactly the types who are going to ask questions when two beautiful women pick them up in a cafĂ©, and then want to have sex on a regular basis. Instead, they’re thanking the Lord above.” 


Friday, May 10, 2019

Check out Ray Keating's Latest Authors and Entrepreneurs Podcast, Episode 36: 5 Minutes on the Need for Another Set of Eyes on Your Book

Ray Keating explains why you need another set of eye to take a close, critical look at your book or other writing project. But it is critical to get someone who you can trust to produce constructive feedback and ideas. After all, everybody has an opinion and most are quite willing to tell you what they think, but is their feedback based on experience and is it constructive? 
Keating goes on to explain that he now provides manuscript assessment and feedback for authors, offering thorough thoughts and suggestions, such as on story, plot, characters, dialogue, clarity, consistency and structure. This kind of constructive feedback is critical for authors and entrepreneurs. Listen at http://www.buzzsprout.com/147907/1116581-episode-36-5-minutes-on-the-need-for-another-set-of-eyes-on-your-book

Celebrate May 10th Anniversary of REAGAN COUNTRY

Celebrate the May 10th publication anniversary of REAGAN COUNTRY: A PASTOR STEPHEN GRANT NOVEL. If you haven't read it yet, grab it today. 


Average Amazon review is 4.7 stars out of 5. 

And among the positive reviews, Kirkus Reviews says, "The villains, meanwhile, are just as rich and engrossing as the good guys and gals. The familiar protagonist, along with sensational new and recurring characters, drives an energetic political tale."


Signed books at www.raykeatingonline.com

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Get THE TRAITOR: A PASTOR STEPHEN GRANT SHORT STORY for FREE!

Join the Pastor Stephen Grant Novels Email List! Get Pastor Stephen Grant stuff, including a monthly newsletter and the forthcoming short story titled THE TRAITOR for FREE! http://www.pastorstephengrant.com/contact.html



Spy Stuff: JFK, the CIA and the Bay of Pigs

History.com has published an interesting piece on what went wrong with the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961.



One of the most interesting points:

When the plan, codenamed Operation Zapata, was presented to John F. Kennedy just weeks after he took the oath of office, the newly inaugurated president ultimately gave it his approval. Jim Rasenberger, author of The Brilliant Disaster: JFK, Castro, and America’s Doomed Invasion of Cuba’s Bay of Pigs, doesn’t believe that military planners pressured the new president into making a decision against his better judgment. “I think Kennedy knew very well what he was getting into, but he was in a tough place,” he says.


- Ray Keating


Wednesday, May 8, 2019

3 Reasons for Reading the Pastor Stephen Grant Mysteries/Thrillers: Thumbs-Up Reviews for AN ADVENT FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY

Here are three positive takes on AN ADVENT FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY: A PASTOR STEPHEN GRANT NOVEL...



1. "Ray Keating's third Pastor Stephen Grant Novel, An Advent for Religious Liberty continues to bring to life this heroic pastor. What pastor doesn't want to be like Pr. Grant? What parishioner doesn't want him as his shepherd?!"  - Tyrel Bramwell, author of The Gift and the Defender

2. "I flew through it with enthusiasm."  - Mary Moerbe, author of Blessed: God's Gift of Love and Family Vocation

3. "It is exciting reading, and tough to put down... There's some really good stuff in here, and it does keep you on the edge of your reading seat... good mystery writing."  - Rod Zwonitzer, host of KFUO's "BookTalk"


Check out the Latest Episode of Ray Keating's Authors and Entrepreneurs Podcast


Noting that authors are entrepreneurs, Ray Keating makes the case that authors need a business plan – an action plan – for each of their books. Without such a plan, authors are simply missing out on opportunities. Keating goes on to explain the service he now offers to produce a business plan – again, an action plan – for authors.


Go to
http://www.buzzsprout.com/147907/1103048-episode-35-5-minutes-on-a-business-plan-for-your-book

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Big News: Cover for Next Pastor Stephen Grant Novel

Here's an early look at the cover for the next Pastor Stephen Grant novel. A big thank you to Ty Bramwell for his cover-creating excellence!


4 Quick and Cool Facts: What's Happening or on the Way?

Check out what's coming or happening now with the Pastor Stephen Grant novels and short stories...



Sign up at http://www.pastorstephengrant.com/contact.html

Pastor Stephen Grant Character Quote of the Week from SHIFTING SANDS



The Pastor Stephen Grant Character Quote of the Week...

Jennifer gave a slight roll of the eyes, and interjected, “I get the feeling you guys are going to start singing a Beach Boys tune.”



Monday, May 6, 2019

Chance to Win a FREE Copy of “The Realistic Optimist TO DO List & Calendar 2019”

Between May 6 and May 13 Enter for a Chance to Win a FREE Copy of “The Realistic Optimist TO DO List & Calendar 2019” – 2 Winners Will Be Selected at Random – And Everyone Who Enters Gets a 40% Off Coupon to Buy Any of the 2020 “TO DO List Solution” Planners Coming from Ray Keating Later this Year – Enter at https://raykeatingonline.com/contact



In addition, everyone who enters will be added to Ray Keating’s TO-DO List, Authors & Entrepreneurs, and Free Enterprise Economics email lists, and receive a regular newsletter and updates.

Remember, it’s not too late to get organized and to get creative in 2019. Do so with “The Realistic Optimist TO DO List & Calendar 2019.” Again, enter at https://raykeatingonline.com/contact

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Spy Stuff: Bond 25 Starts Filming

If you missed it, the announcement that the 25thJames Bond movie was beginning principal photography came recently. 



I not only immensely enjoy the James Bond films, but Ian Fleming and Bond played a role in terms of getting me started writing the Pastor Stephen Grant novels. As I noted in the new Introduction to the second edition of Warrior Monk:

     As for deciding to write Warrior Monk, my work as an economist did come into play. Many years ago now, a colleague mentioned that a new priest at her parish formerly worked for the Central Intelligence Agency. That caught my attention, and I filed it away just in case I ever did delve into the fiction realm. 
     A few years later, in 2007, I received word that Hofstra University on Long Island would be hosting a conference titled “Bond, James Bond: The World of 007.” My editor at Newsday agreed that I should cover the event for my column. At that gathering of Bond experts and fans from around the world, I learned that Ian Fleming was 44 years old when his first Bond novel, Casino Royale, was published. That happened to be how old I was at the time of the conference. So, I took that as some kind of sign. I filed my Newsday column on the conference, and then started working on my first novel, featuring a Lutheran pastor who had been a Navy SEAL and a CIA operative. Stephen Grant was born. 

I truly have gotten excited and humbled when a reviewer here and there has compared the Grant novels to Fleming’s Bond. How freaking cool is that?

Bond 25 – the movie has no title as yet – will be released on April 8, 2020. What do we know about it? Here’s the summary from the Bond people:

Bond has left active service and is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica.  His peace is short-lived when his old friend Felix Leiter from the CIA turns up asking for help. The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology. 

The return of Felix Leiter is most welcome.

I’m definitely ready for Bond 25. How about you?

- Ray Keating



Monday, April 29, 2019

Pastor Stephen Grant Character Quote of the Week from THE RIVER



From THE RIVER: A PASTOR STEPHEN GRANT NOVEL, an exchange between Paige Caldwell and Stephen Grant form Grant's CIA days...
     “Why aren’t you sweating – at all?” asked Grant.      
     Caldwell smiled seductively. “I did enough of that last night. Didn’t you?” 




Wednesday, April 24, 2019

3 Reasons for Reading the Pastor Stephen Grant Mysteries/Thrillers: Vintage Moments in WINE INTO WATER

Here are three moments from Wine Into Water having to do with, well, wine...


1. A wine heist?

     Following his gaze, Caldwell asked, “And who owns that lovely yacht?” 
     Indeed, who? The answer came to Grant as he absentmindedly took another drink of his wine. He looked at the glass, and what Lafleur and Pudovkin were doing became clear. 
     “This isn’t about spies sharing or stealing secrets. It’s not about national security.” 
      Paige said, “Are you going to let me in on your revelation?” 
     Grant hesitated, as he went over the theory one more time in his head. “It’s a heist. That’s Sir James Blasingame’s yacht. Tonight, after the race, Blasingame will be hosting an auction of some of the most expensive wines in the world. And he’s doing so on that yacht.” 

2. A very special wine tasting...

     For opening such a rare, expensive bottle, the group at Banner’s spacious Upper West Side apartment in Manhattan was unusually small. In addition to his daughter and son-in-law being in attendance, Colin Wiggs, a well-known New York master sommelier, and Pearson Gerards, a columnist for a premiere wine-tasting website, waited to savor a bottle of Merlot from 1929. The website also sent along a photographer, who would be taking pictures but not tasting. 
     The five were seated at a large round table in Banner’s high-ceilinged library. The photographer had taken shots of the bottle. He then clicked away as Banner relayed the history of how this bottle, along with two others he had purchased at auction, had been taken from the Bordeaux region of France by the Nazis. The three bottles were found at the end of the war among Hitler’s massive stash of stolen wine – some half-a-million bottles – hidden in his Eagle’s Nest high in the Bavarian Alps. Banner smiled, and added, “In one of those moments of fitting justice in history, this wine was found and liberated by de Gaulle’s soldiers.” 
     The photographer took pictures of the smiles and anticipation on each person’s face while Wiggs opened the bottle with some ceremony. Of course, as the owner who paid $405,000 to purchase the bottles at auction, the first glass was Banner’s to swirl, eye, smell, and finally, taste. He said nothing; his face expressionless. 

3. Some very expensive wine...

     Holden hesitated, pulled over another glass, and looked up once again at Grant with the silent question. Stephen Grant briefly, and almost completely, returned to the man who served the CIA many years before. 
     I’ll probably never have another chance in my life to sample a $200,000-plus wine. 
     Grant nodded. 
     Holden smiled with far less sadness, and poured the wine. 
     With the Glock still in hand, Grant picked up the glass. Holden raised his own in salute. Stephen eyed the color and clarity, and breathed in the aromas. He then took more than a mere sip, moved the liquid around his mouth and swallowed. “Impressive.” 
     Holden declared, “Worth the money.”