Is Your Pastor or Priest a Man of Action? Check Out Pastor Stephen Grant in, for example, WINE INTO WATER: A PASTOR STEPHEN GRANT NOVEL, MURDERER'S ROW: A PASTOR STEPHEN GRANT NOVEL and THE RIVER: A PASTOR STEPHEN GRANT NOVEL by Ray Keating

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.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Wine Into Water is "full of action, suspense..."

Big thumbs up for WINE INTO WATER from Self-Publishing Review:

          Wine Into Water by Ray Keating finds Pastor Stephen Grant navigating the treacherous world of counterfeit winemaking. A student of wine himself back in his CIA days, Grant is tasked with uncovering a counterfeit ring, which also involves dead restaurateurs, as well as members of his investigative team. 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.
          Though Wine into Water and the Stephen Grant series could most certainly be classified as Christian fiction, the book can also be enjoyed by those looking for a pure crime thriller...

Read the rest of this review at

Monday, December 19, 2016

Thanks, and Merry Christmas!

Thanks for your support (not just Facebook friends, but everyone!), and have a Merry and Blessed Christmas!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Aleteia Thumbs Up for Wine Into Water


From a December 13 article offering recommended reads for a snowy day, the reviewer, Russ Saltzman, wrote the following about WINE INTO WATER: A PASTOR STEPHEN GRANT NOVEL by Ray Keating:

"The first time we meet the intrepid Lutheran Pastor Stephan Grant, a former CIA agent with notches on his gun, he has saved Pope Augustine from a knife-wielding monk. The pastor of St. Mary’s Lutheran Church on Long Island (yes, there are Lutheran congregations named for St. Mary), Grant seems to be one of those pastors who ends up everywhere at once, and St. Mary’s seems to be one of those parishes that takes pastoral absences calmly. In this adventure, sixth in the series, wine counterfeiters (no, I haven’t heard of that either) infest the vineyards. When Grant’s around, nobody messes with the communion wine."

Read the complete article here.

Get WINE INTO WATER at Amazon.

Or, order signed copies at

Monday, December 5, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Gives Thumbs Up for WINE INTO WATER

Kirkus Reviews gives a big thumbs up for Ray Keating's WINE INTO WATER: A PASTOR STEPHEN GRANT NOVEL:

It was declared in the review:

"The recurring protagonist shares the spotlight with many characters who appeared in preceding novels. This narrative approach, however, proves beneficial. To begin with, the story, though boasting the series' now-prerequisite action sequences, shifts most of its attention to the mystery. Keating establishes genuine suspects: seems all winemakers, from the respected to the dubious, are under attack, so those culpable aren't easily detectable. Grant undoubtedly shines in confrontations with baddies as well as lighter subplots: scenes behind the pulpit and his visible awkwardness whenever Caldwell and his wife, Jennifer, are together. But it's the search for killers that makes the biggest impact, and the pastor can't take full credit; it's a team effort, with characters (i.e., Grant's old CIA pals) that are just as essential.
     "A first-rate mystery makes this a series standout, even if the titular protagonist splits his hero status with others."              - Kirkus Reviews

Read the entire review here.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Warrior Monk: Gen. Mattis v. Stephen Grant?

President-elect Trump has selected retired Marine Gen. James Mattis for secretary of defense. Gen. Mattis has been called a "warrior monk."

That's interesting, and raises the question: Who is the real warrior monk - Mattis or Stephen Grant?


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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Celebrate Advent with An Advent for Religious Liberty

Celebrate Advent this year by enjoying Ray Keating's timely thriller AN ADVENT FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY: A PASTOR STEPHEN GRANT NOVEL.

Author Tyrel Bramwell wrote:

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?!... 
I don’t know if it was originally released during Advent, but I wish I would’ve read it during Advent. As a novella it packs an intriguing story into a quick read, perfect for the busy-ness that comes with December! 
Mayor-elect Adam Pritchett’s over the top personality is Trumpian (for lack of a better word), which enabled me to buy into the rapid and overt attack on religious freedom in the story. How it’s stopped, well, that’s on par with how I’ve come to expect Pr. Stephen Grant to handle things – like a boss.

Get the book from Amazon at

Or, get a signed copy on sale at

Indie Authors Are Small Business Owners

Indie authors definitely are small business owners. So, on this Small Business Saturday, order a book written by a creative entrepreneur. It doesn't have to be one of mine - although that would be nice (and I have provided a link below to my latest because I am a small business owner) - but grab a copy of some indie author's work out there. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving from Pastor Stephen Grant and His Family and Friends

For Thanksgiving, I often post the following to offer how the holiday was celebrated with Pastor Stephen Grant, and his family and friends. It's Chapter 18 of An Advent for Religious Liberty: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel...

Chapter 18 

Thanksgiving Day had the potential to degrade into bedlam.
After all, in addition to Tom, Maggie, and their six children – three daughters and three sons – ranging from early teens to mid-twenties, the guests included a fiancĂ©e to the second oldest Stone daughter, two less serious dates brought by two Stone sons, Stephen and Jennifer Grant, Ron McDermott, Zack Charmichael, Joan and George Kraus with their two teenage daughters, and Michael Vanacore and his new girl friend, Melissa Ambler. Add in Maggie’s mother, Nancy Chandler, and it came to twenty-two in attendance.
Thanksgiving at the Stone home – a large stone-exterior rectory sitting next to the castle-like St. Bartholomew’s Anglican Church – was a first for Stephen and Jennifer. Since arriving at St. Mary’s Lutheran Church years ago, Stephen had spent most Thanksgivings with his friends Hans and Flo Gunderson, until they were murdered not long after they had led the way building a new St. Mary’s church building.
On the large porch of the rectory, one of the Stone offspring, the youngest son, Paul, greeted each guest upon arrival with a sheet of paper. The ever-punctual Stephen was pleased. “Check this out, Jen. It’s a schedule for the day. Nice.”
Jennifer looked at her husband, smiled, and said, “Excited about a schedule. Sometimes, you’re so weird.”
Stephen replied, “Hey, this is impressive.”
Tom greeted his two friends. He looked at Jennifer, and said, “I missed it. Why is your husband weird?”
“Oh, it’s just odd that he’s getting excited about your schedule.”
Tom corrected, “Not my schedule. That’s my wife’s. And I agree, it’s a bit anal-retentive. But as you’ll see, it actually works.”
Stephen gave Jennifer and Tom a mock look of disapproval and said, “Well, at least, I will compliment Maggie on the schedule.” He read it over. “So, the Stone Bowl kicks off in about an hour. Dinner at 4:30. And topped off with a movie at 7:30. What are we watching?”
Tom said, “It’s a longtime tradition in the Stone household to watch Christmas in Connecticut on Thanksgiving.”
Jennifer shook her head. “Are you serious?”
Tom looked somewhat bewildered at Jennifer and Stephen, who flashed a broad smile. “Yes, what’s the deal? Problem with the movie?”
Stephen answered, “Quite the contrary. That’s a wonderful film with Barbara Stanwyck.”
Jennifer explained, “Stephen watches that movie every year. Has for … how long?”
Stephen thought. “Actually, since I was a kid. In recent years, at least when the schedule permitted.”
Jennifer added, “He was worried that we might not get home early enough tonight to watch his usual Thanksgiving movie, which is White Christmas. That kicks off about a month and a half of Christmas films for the movie buff I married.”
“I also happen to be a big fan of Bing Crosby, as you both know. But Stanwyck inChristmas in Connecticut works nicely, too.”
It was Tom’s turn to shake his head. “Your wife is right. You are weird. But I’ve known that for a while now.”
Stephen retorted, “Right, this from a guy who wears shorts and a Hawaiian shirt no matter what time of year it is as long as the temp is over 50. It’s supposed to be an unseasonable 60 today, so why not the typical Tom Stone attire?”
Stephen and Jennifer were in touch football attire, as instructed by their hosts. They wore sneakers, blue jeans and a polo shirt – Stephen’s a bright red with long sleeves, and Jennifer in Stephen’s favorite for her, a short-sleeve pink.
Tom said, “Not today. As I told you, this is the annual Stone Bowl.” Tom had sweatpants and sneakers on, but he seemed particularly proud of the blue jersey he wore, with “Stone Bowl” written across the front above a big number 1, and “Number One Dad” across the back above another big 1.
Behind Jennifer and Stephen came the Kraus family. None looked dressed for football. Joan wore brown boots, a tweed skirt and a cream-colored, lightweight, short-sleeve sweater. In his typical conservative, lawyer fashion, George was in a white, pinstriped, button-down shirt, gray pants, and black, wingtip shoes. Their daughters, Grace and Faith, who shared their mother’s bright red hair, fair skin and large eyes, didn’t look ready for tossing around the pigskin either in tight-fitting leggings and glittery flats. 
After hugs and pecks on cheeks were exchanged, Grace and Faith hurried off to find Tom’s daughters.
Stephen said, “George, you do not look dressed for touch football.”
“I’m not. Bad back does not allow for football.” He looked at Tom. “Not even for the Stone Bowl, Tom, sorry.”
“No worries, you’ll just have to eat and drink with the fans.”
George replied, “I’m well equipped to do that.”
Stephen turned to Joan, “And no Stone Bowl for you either, Joan?”
“Unlike Jen, I do not do football, even when it’s touch.”
Joan Kraus and Jennifer Grant were beyond close friends, being more like sisters. That being the case, Stephen and George claimed to be quasi-brothers-in-law.
Jennifer said, “But you do do wine.” She stopped and looked quizzically. “Does that sound right? Oh well, I have a crumb cake for Maggie, so let’s go see what we can do to help. She always has nice wines for the kitchen help.”
Joan added, “If I had more than 20 people over for Thanksgiving, I’d be well into my second bottle by now.”
As Jen and Joan moved toward the kitchen, Tom, Stephen and George followed. Eventually, Tom and Stephen moved out the backdoor and went down a few steps onto a patio. The yard behind the rectory and church was expansive, sloping gently down to a small lake.
With beers in hand, they headed in the direction of a group talking and casually tossing around a football.
This was another rare social occasion when Ron McDermott could be found in non-clerical attire, sporting tan work boots, brown pants and a long-sleeve, tan, cotton button down. Other than for golf, Stephen knew that this was about as casual as Ron got outside the St. Luke’s rectory – and sometimes within the rectory.
The other four people, however, were in the full spirit of the Stone Bowl.
Zack had his Seahawks jersey on, and Tom’s oldest daughter, Cara, also wore a “Stone Bowl” jersey. Cara, at 27 years old, was a younger version of her mother, including the strawberry-blond hair, but longer, bright blue eyes and smile. Stephen noticed that the two seemed more interested in each other than the football. Well, that’s intriguing.
Stephen had not seen Mike Vanacore in a while, noting that the young, billionaire video game entrepreneur, and leading supporter of parochial education, was still sporting thick blond hair and Clark Kent glasses. Vanacore was from, and still lived in California, but also had a house on Long Island, He was an active member at St. Bart’s. His football preferences were clear from his San Diego Chargers jersey.
But it was the fourth person in the group who drew Stephen’s attention. He whispered to Tom, “Who is that with Mike? She looks familiar.”
Stephen was referring to a tall, thin, beautiful woman with long, straight blond hair. She also had a Chargers jersey on, though cut to reveal her stomach and belly button, along with Capri-style jeans and white sneakers.
Tom answered, “Familiar? Really? Does Jen know that?”
Stephen said, “Meaning what?”
Tom continued, “That’s Melissa Ambler. I guess there’s no other way to put it: She’s a supermodel. She and Mike have been dating for a bit. I believe she was in the most recent SI swimsuit issue.”
Stephen retorted, “And how would you know that? And does Maggie know?”
“TouchĂ©. She’s also been in some cosmetics commercials.”
Tom added, “That’s not all. She’s got an MBA. Mike constantly mentions her business smarts.”
They stopped and looked at each other.
Stephen smirked and said, “Her business smarts. That’s what he talks about constantly?”
Tom replied, “Yes, and what are you possibly implying?” His fake outrage lasted mere seconds, when they laughed, clinked their bottles, and drank some beer.
Everyone greeted Stephen warmly.
The Stone Bowl was waged in good fun, but with more than just a light touch of competitiveness, between two teams of eight. The effective St. Bart’s home team – featuring the Stone family, along with Mike and Melissa – won a tight contest, with an interception by Mike returned for a touchdown to make it final.
Stephen threw the pick, and immediately knew he would not live that down with his friends – and his wife – for the entire coming year, until the next Stone Bowl.
Later, with a feast featuring two turkeys spread across two large tables arranged in a T, Tom stood and everyone fell silent.
“For those who have never been at a Stone family Thanksgiving, I officially welcome you, and thank God for your being with us. We don’t do anything like putting individuals on the spot saying what they’re thankful for. We leave that to each of you personally with the Lord. But I do take the opportunity to reflect a bit in our dinner prayer. So, please bow your heads.”
Everyone did so.
Tom continued:

“Dear Jesus, our Lord and Savior, we have so much to be thankful for, truly. We thank you for the family and dear friends you have brought together here today, and for the many hands that brought forth the bounty of which we are about to partake, from the farms and ranches, and every other point along the way, into our own kitchen.
“But what we are most thankful for is your sacrifice and atonement for our sins, your love, forgiveness and gifts of salvation and eternal life, and your coming to us through Word and sacrament. And we thank you for your Church. While it is broken and fragmented in so many ways due to man’s sin, it remains Your Church, and the place where believers can gather together to hear the Word, partake in the Lord’s supper, learn, and help, support and strengthen each other.
“Jesus, Your Church again has come under attack, with sin and the Evil One working to limit the reach of the Gospel. We pray for strength to have the courage to do what is right, to protect the Church, no matter what the price.
“Finally, sweet Jesus, we pray for those who gather on this Thanksgiving, but know not who they should be thanking for their families, their friends, their blessing and their very lives. We pray that through Your grace, through the Holy Spirit, through an awakening of faith, they will come to know You.
“And we pray all of this, in Your precious name. Amen.”

All around the table echoed, “Amen.”
Maggie looked at her husband, and squeezed his hand. She turned to her family and guests, and said, “Please, everyone, eat and enjoy.”
Stephen was seated on the other side of Tom, and whispered, “Nice prayer.”
Tom replied, “Thanks. All credit, of course, goes to Him.” After a short pause, as he spooned some au gratin potatoes onto his plate, he added, “Although, I pondered adding thanks for that pick you threw giving us the Stone Bowl. But I thought it might make the prayer go too long.”
Stephen smiled. “And so it starts. I’m never going to hear the end of this, am I?”
Tom replied, “Of course not. What are friends for?”

Monday, November 21, 2016

Reviewer Quote of the Day: "Edge of My Chair"

Reader/Reviewer Quote of the Day…
“A very good read. Ray Keating does a wonderful job at a good mystery. This book kept my attention and on the edge of my chair, I couldn't put the book down…” 
                                                - Amazon review of Warrior Monk
Get the book at

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Keating is the Vince Flynn or Brad Thor of Christian Novels

New 5-star Amazon review of Ray Keating's new thriller WINE INTO WATER: A PASTOR STEPHEN GRANT NOVEL: 
"Another success from Keating! Keating is a refreshing relief of the cheesy and predictable Christian novels! I've said it before and will say it again, he is the Vince Flynn and Brad Thor of Christian novels. Mr Keating, keep them coming!"

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Why Not a Thrilling Advent?

Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas and Epiphany is a stretch of time packed with significant meaning for Christians. But that doesn’t matter to the radical atheist who has just been elected mayor of New York City. In fact, he wants to push Christianity completely out of public life. AN ADVENT FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY: A PASTOR STEPHEN GRANT NOVEL by award-winning novelist Ray Keating could be torn from today’s headlines.

About AN ADVENT FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY, Tyrel Bramwell, a pastor and novelist, declares, “I don’t know if it was originally released during Advent, but I wish I would’ve read it during Advent… [I]t packs an intriguing story into a quick read, perfect for the busy-ness that comes with December!”

Stephen Grant is a pastor, a past CIA operative, and a former Navy SEAL.

Keating has been called “a great novelist” by the host of KFUO’s BookTalk, and his novels have received widespread praise from reviewers at, for example, The Washington Times,, Kirkus Reviews,, Touchstone magazine, WORLD magazine, Lutheran Book Review, and Also, reviewers at Amazon compare Keating to Clancy, Ludlum, Grisham, Cussler, and Morrell.

Check out AN ADVENT FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY, along with Keating’s latest thriller, WINE INTO WATER, and the other gripping Pastor Stephen Grant novels – MURDERER’S ROW, THE RIVER, ROOT OF ALL EVIL? and WARRIOR MONK.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

On Warrior Monk: "Yowsers"

A new, hold-nothing-back, 5-star Amazon review of WARRIOR MONK: A PASTOR STEPHEN GRANT NOVEL says:

"Yowsers. That about says it all. Every kind of kook is represented from the far right and far left. Delightful friends and collared brothers make up most of the scene chewing. Oh, and let's not forget a potential love interest. Good guys, bad guys, looks. They're all here with action to boot. Did I forget to mention that God and his Son, Jesus run throughout the book in a most delightful way!"

Get the book at

Monday, November 7, 2016

Another 5 Stars for Wine Into Water

Another 5-star Amazon review of WINE INTO WATER: A PASTOR STEPHEN GRANT NOVEL:
Keating does it again! He provides another solid volume of the Pastor Stephen Grant Novel series. This time it involves wine tasting and counterfeit wines. Although it follows a familiar PSG Novel format (starting with an episode from Grant's former CIA days with relevance to this novel as well as weaving of previous well developed characters), it turns subtly and skillfully to the ending crescendo. 
Relationships abound in Keating's writing, from former CIA/FBI times to Christian relationships to bonds among the criminal elite. These all intertwine with new characters and relationships emerging in this novel. A critical one here is Grant's training under wine/poker expert Larry Banner who is sold very expensive counterfeit wine. 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!

Friday, November 4, 2016

From the World Series to Murderer's Row

Baseball isn't over after a great World Series. Check out Ray Keating's thriller MURDERER'S ROW: A PASTOR STEPHEN GRANT NOVEL.

Thursday, October 27, 2016


The first Amazon review of WINE INTO WATER is in, and its FIVE STARS!
The reviewer writes: "Ray Keating does it again. Ray Keating delivers another great Stephen Grant adventure. We see more of Stephen's non-pastor life in this book than in the previous ones, but we still see his life as a pastor and as a husband, and his relationship with Jennifer. More of what makes Stephen tick is also revealed. And as always, some great Lutheran theology, particularly relating the wine counterfeits of the story and Holy Communion."
Thanks so much!!

Monday, October 24, 2016

New Thriller from Award-Winning Novelist Ray Keating Titled “Wine Into Water: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel”

Former CIA Operative and Current Pastor Takes on Wine Counterfeiters, Seeks Justice, and Embraces Forgiveness

Long Island, NY – Who knew the wine business could be sordid and violent? But that’s what happens when infiltrated by counterfeiters. A pastor, once was a Navy SEAL and CIA operative, is pulled into action to help unravel a mystery involving wine fakes, murder and revenge. WINE INTO WATER: A PASTOR STEPHEN GRANT NOVEL is Ray Keating’s sixth novel.

Along with his former CIA colleagues and the FBI, Grant is called on to seek justice and take on evil, while embracing forgiveness and staying rooted in his calling as a pastor.

In WINE INTO WATER, Keating not only serves up fine wine accompanied by some excellent food, but also a compelling mystery, interesting characters, action, adventure, fascinating relationships, humor, international intrigue, weakness, strength, doubt, forgiveness and faith.

Keating has been called “a great novelist” by the host of “BookTalk” radio. His previous thriller, MURDERER’S ROW: A PASTOR STEPHEN GRANT NOVEL, won the 2015 Book of the Year award from KFUO radio. Kirkus Reviews heaped praise on the book, noting, “Action fans will find plenty to love here, from gunfights and murder sprees to moral dilemmas.”

Discover Pastor Stephen Grant and his world of intrigue, faith, action, love and murder. reviewers compare his thrillers to the works of Clancy, Ludlum, Grisham, Cussler, Griffin and Morrell.

WINE INTO WATER: A PASTOR STEPHEN GRANT NOVEL is available in trade paperback from at

This thriller also can be purchased and downloaded for the Kindle at

Keating’s previous books include MURDERER’S ROW: A PASTOR STEPHEN GRANT NOVEL, THE RIVER: A PASTOR STEPHEN GRANT NOVEL, AN ADVENT FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY: A PASTOR STEPHEN GRANT NOVEL, ROOT OF ALL EVIL? A PASTOR STEPHEN GRANT NOVEL and WARRIOR MONK: A PASTOR STEPHEN GRANT NOVEL. In addition to being a novelist, Keating is an economist, entrepreneur, a longtime adjunct professor, and a former, 20-plus-year newspaper columnist with Newsday, Long Island Business News and the New York City Tribune.

Review copies, interviews for the media, and author appearances are available upon request.

Contact: Ray Keating
Phone: 631-909-1122