SHADOW OF DEATH BY Katheryn Maddox Haddad

Welcome back Katheryn Maddox Haddad again as she spotlights her series, They Met Jesus.

Have you been condemned for standing by someone who is being ridiculed? Governor Pilate stood by Jesus against the priests and tried to free him.

How can you bring an innocent bystander to Jesus? Simon the Cyrene happened to see church with his cross and was pressed into service.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be beaten nearly to death, then suspended by nails for half a day? Read “Crucifixion I ~ the Substitute” and you will never be the same again.

Some believe Jesus faced down Satan, then escaped from hell to do the impossible for us. Read what it might have been like.

Would you like to convert a prisoner? Jesus converted one of the thieves being crucified with him.

Have you hidden your faith to save your job? Joseph of Arimathea did, then got the courage to declare it openly.

Do you know someone who lies about Christianity? The guards who witnessed Jesus’ resurrection from death did.

Can you gather friends around you in the middle of the night to worship?  The five wealthy women who helped Jesus did.

Have you denied Jesus in public? Peter did.

Do you tell everyone who will listen that Jesus overcame death for us? James the Less and Alphaeus did.



This series of eight novels—THEY MET JESUS—is dedicated to everyone who has ever doubted. It shows people who met Jesus in their stark humanness and curiosity, sometimes loving him, sometimes hating him, but never left the same. I was very careful about adding words of Jesus that are not in the Bible. At the end of each chapter are “Life Application Questions” for individual readers or book clubs, and ancient historical sources such as Josephus. At the end of each book are suggested readings for special occasions. COME, MEET JESUS ALL OVER AGAIN.





Katheryn began writing at age ten, and was “published” that same year in her local newspaper. She grew up in the cold north and now lives in Arizona where she do not have to shovel sunshine. She basks in 100-degree weather along with my palm trees, cacti, and a computer with most of the letters worn off.

With a bachelor’s degree in English, Bible and social science from Harding University and part of a master’s degree in Bible, including Greek, from the Harding Graduate School of Theology, she also has a master’s degree in management and human relations from Abilene University.

Her newspaper column appeared for several years in newspapers in Texas and North Carolina ~ Little Known Facts About the Bible ~ and she has written for numerous Christian publications.

She spends half her day writing, and the other half teaching English over the internet worldwide using the Bible as text book.  She is a member of Christian Writers of the West and is also an energetic public speaker.


Monthly Newsletter:




August 2017 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.


Imperfect Lies by Elizabeth Noyes — When another woman emerges from the past to claim Mallory Cameron’s happily ever after, she cuts her losses and sets out to find a headline-worthy story to launch her journalism career. She embarks on a whirlwind journey that takes her across the United States, to the blue-green waters of the Caribbean, on to sunny Mexico, and deep into the dangerous parts of Africa where terror reigns. James Evers turned his back on a life of power and privilege to carve a place in the world for himself. Now that he’s finally discovered his niche as a small-town sheriff and found the woman he wants in his future, a past indiscretion struts in on high heels and sends his newfound love fleeing headlong into peril. His mission: neutralize old enemies, defuse new threats, resolve past mistakes, settle family disputes, and—most importantly—find and rescue his woman from terrorists before the unthinkable happens. (Action/Adventure from Write Integrity Press)

Contemporary Romance:

The Bachelor’s Unexpected Family by Lisa Carter — Young widow Kristina Montgomery moves to Kiptohanock, Virginia, hoping it will give her and her teenage son, Gray, a fresh start. She longs for the peace and quiet only a small town can provide. But her plans are thwarted by her new neighbor, Canyon Collier, a former Coast Guard pilot and a crop duster. Gray is instantly drawn to the pilot and his teenage niece, Jade—and Kristina’s not far behind. She and Canyon are soon bonding over parenting their charges and their spark becomes undeniable. Could it be that the spirited pilot is just what Kristina needs to teach her heart to soar again? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Gift of the Magpie by Zoe M. McCarthy — Amanda Larrowe’s lack of trust sabotages her relationships. The English teacher and award-winning author of middle-grade adventure books for boys has shut off communication with friends and family to meet her January 2 book deadline. Now, in the deepest snow accumulation Richmond, Virginia, has experienced in years, Camden Lancaster moves in across the street. After ten years, Amanda’s heart still smarts from the humiliating aftermath of their perfect high-school Valentine’s Day date. Camden may have transformed into a handsome, amiable man, but his likeability doesn’t instill trust in Amanda’s heart. When Cam doesn’t recognize her on their first two encounters, she thinks it’s safe to be his fair-weather neighbor. Boy is she wrong. (Contemporary Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

A Mother for Leah by Rachel L. Miller –It’s been ten years since Leah Fisher’s mother died in a buggy accident. But when Leah’s father shows interest in Naomi Yoder, Leah isn’t ready for a new mother. Will Leah be able to let go of her own ideas and realize that God truly does know best for her or will she allow love to slip through her fingers, destroying Samuel Fisher and Naomi Yoder’s happiness at the same time? (Contemporary from S & G Publishing)

General Contemporary:

Freedom’s Ring by Heidi Chiavaroli — An antique ring reunites a Boston Marathon bombing survivor with the man who saved her. Together they unearth the two-hundred-year- old history of a woman who suffered tremendous loss in the Boston Massacre, a woman torn between the love of two men – one a patriot, one a Redcoat. (General Contemporary from Tyndale House)

Fresh Faith by Elise Phillips — Joy Abbott had been trying to start her life over for years — and failing. Then a letter summoned her to Texas and everything changed. (General Contemporary from Desert Breeze Publishing)


Enchanted Isle by Melanie Dobson — In the spring of 1958, Jenny Winter embarks on a two-month adventure to a quaint village in England’s magical Lake District. With a new camera and an eye for capturing the beauty others miss, she can’t wait to explore the heathery fells and mystical waters. Adrian Kemp, a handsome and enigmatic local, makes the sightseeing even more beguiling. When Adrian shows Jenny his late father’s abandoned dream, a deserted island amusement park, she glimpses a kindred spirit in this reckless, haunted young man. Yet as she opens her heart to Adrian, the two stumble into a mystery leading back a generation to an unforgettable romance and an unsolved murder. As long-held secrets come to light, it’s left to Jenny and Adrian to put the past to rest and restore a lost dream. (Historical from Waterfall Press)

Titus: The Aristocrat by Katheryn Maddox Haddad — Titus intends to become a famous lawyer in the Roman Empire. Instead, he is sent by Paul to arbitrate between arch enemies in wild Corinth, wilder Crete, and wildest Dalmatia. In each place he suffers. But, long before that, he suffers from guilt over the death of his mother when he was eleven years old. How does Titus survive it all? (Historical from Northern Lights Publishing House)

Historical Romance:


To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander — With fates bound by a shared tragedy, a reformed gambler from the Colorado Territory and a Southern Belle bent on breaking free from society’s expectations must work together to achieve their dreams – provided the truth doesn’t tear them apart first. (Historical Romance from Zondervan)

The Second Chance Brides Collection by Lauralee Bliss, Angela Breidenbach, Ramona K. Cecil, Pamela Griffin, Grace Hitchcock, Pam Hillman, Laura V. Hilton, Tiffany Amber Stockton, and Liz Tolsma — Meet nine women who each believe their chance for lifelong love has passed them by. From the girls who lost their beaus to war, to the wallflowers overshadowed by others, and the widows deeply hurt by their loss, the desire to love and be loved spans American history from 1777 to 1944. Experience the sweet pull of romance on each life and the blossom of faith that leads them to brighter futures. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

The Promise of Breeze Hill by Pam Hillman — Anxious for his brothers to join him on the rugged frontier along the Mississippi River, Connor O’Shea has no choice but to indenture himself as a carpenter in exchange for their passage from Ireland. But when he’s sold to Isabella Bartholomew of Breeze Hill Plantation, Connor fears he’ll repeat past mistakes and vows not to be tempted by the lovely lady. The responsibilities of running Breeze Hill have fallen on Isabella’s shoulders after her brother was found dead in the swamps along the Natchez Trace and a suspicious fire devastated their crops, almost destroyed their home, and left her father seriously injured. Even with Connor’s help, Isabella fears she’ll lose her family’s plantation. Despite her growing feelings for the handsome Irish carpenter, she seriously considers accepting her wealthy and influential neighbor’s proposal of marriage. Soon, though, Connor realizes someone is out to eliminate the Bartholomew family. Can he set aside his own feelings to keep Isabella safe? (Historical Romance from Tyndale House)

Romantic Suspense:

Chasing Secrets by Lynette Eason — When a photo leads investigators in West Ireland to open a twenty-five-year-old cold case, Elite Guardians bodyguard Haley Callaghan’s life is suddenly in danger. Haley knows how to take care of herself; after all, she’s made a career out of taking care of others. But after she has an uncomfortably close call, Detective Steven Rothwell takes it upon himself to stay with her–and the young client she has taken under her wing. A protector at heart, he’s not about to let Haley fight this battle alone. In a sweeping plot that takes them into long-buried memories–and the depths of the heart–Haley and Steven will have to solve the mystery of Haley’s past while dodging bullets, bombs, and bad guys who just won’t quit. (Romantic Suspense from Revell [Baker])

Plain Retribution by Dana R. Lynn — Ten years ago while on rumspringa, Rebecca Miller and her friends were kidnapped and held captive…and now, living in the English world, she’s nearly abducted again. One by one her friends who once helped send their abductor to jail are targeted, and she is next…unless police officer Miles Olsen can stop a killer. Deaf since birth, the only person on the force that Rebecca can communicate with is Miles, and he needs this case to redeem himself of past mistakes. When the relentless killer tracks them deep into the heart of Amish country, protecting Rebecca must be Miles’s sole focus. Because a mistake this time will cost something worth more to him than his job—the woman he’s falling for. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Cold Blooded by Anne Patrick — Detective Gwen Jamison has the highest closure rate in her division, but a string of armed robberies is about to take over her life. Not only will her job be on the line, but the troubling case also wreaks havoc on her personal life. Lieutenant Ian McKean knew he would have his hands full when he took over leadership of the detectives unit. He wasn’t prepared for the headstrong Detective Jamison, though, who quickly becomes a thorn in his side. If they can stop butting heads long enough they might realize they are more alike than either imagined. (Romantic Suspense from Anne Patrick)


I’m excited to welcome author Terri Wangard today as she talks about finding the perfect names for her characters. Read through to the end and find out how to enter to win a free copy of No Neutral Ground.


My WWII series Promise For Tomorrow features large casts of characters in all three books, so I had to come up with lots of names. In the first book, Friends & Enemies, the main female character lives in Germany. That meant I needed German given names and surnames. The last names were easy. With three quarters of German ancestry, I had plenty of selections to pick from my family tree.

Of the six main Promise characters, only Jennie Lindquist in No Neutral Ground does not have one of my family names. She required a Swedish surname, and I have no Swedish ancestry.

Cemeteries are a good place for me to find era-appropriate given names. I first spelled Jennie’s name with a –y, but changed it after seeing the –ie on tombstones. For all the airmen at Ridgewell Air Base, a base roster offered plenty of WWII possibilities, like Herb, Harold, Willard, Homer, and Clyde.

Deciding on names I like is important for the main characters, because I’ll be living with them for at least a year as the writing is in progress, and beyond once the book is published.

Some names are strictly for fun. I didn’t tell a friend I’d used her maiden name in No Neutral Ground, or her married name in Soar Like Eagles. When my next book, Wheresoever They May Be, releases late in August, she’ll find another surprise. Harry Wilson is named after her two dachshunds, Wilson and Harrison.

Wheresoever is unique in that I didn’t use family names. Instead, I turned to television. The 1960s TV series, 12 O’Clock High, featured B-17s and was a big help when I wrote my series. The episode “Decoy” showed a ditching and how the Gibson Girl radio was used to signal for help. The first base commander was Frank Savage, followed by Joe Gallagher. My two main male characters in Wheresoever are Frank Swanson and Joe Gallagher.

The chaplain in the Promise For Tomorrow series is Kyle Hogan. Yes, he got his name from Hogan’s Heroes. I’ve also used Newkirk from that show, but don’t remember which book. That’s the problem with casts of dozens.

In my work in progress, I wanted a name I’d easily remember for the main character’s boss. A former boss of mine is named Marley S. The fictional boss is Martin Sopard. The surname is my boss’ name with a slight alteration.

For two Irishmen, I scrolled through an Irish names website and chose Burke and Caffrey. For a chance to win a first edition copy of No Neutral Ground, name the TV show where I found those names.

(*Author will send print book if winner lives in the U.S. and an ebook copy if an international reader wins.)


About No Neutral Ground

Germany rejected him. America took him in. Now he’s back, at war with his homeland and his father, who turned his back.

After his father divorces his mother because of her Jewish ancestry, Rafe and the rest of his family flee Germany. As a B-17 navigator, he returns to Europe. On the ocean voyage, he meets Jennie, an artist journeying to Sweden to work with the OSS.

Flying missions against his former homeland arouses emotions that surprise Rafe. Despite being rejected, he is troubled by the destruction of Germany and his heart still cries for his father’s love.

Sweden may be neutral, but it’s full of intrigue. Jennie assists the OSS at the American legation in Sweden. She thought she’d be doing passive, behind-the-scenes work. Instead, she’s pushed into an active role to gain intelligence and frustrate the Germans.

How can Rafe and Jennie succeed in their dangerous roles when they are so conflicted?


About Terri:

Terri Wangard grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, during the Lombardi Glory Years. Her first Girl Scout badge was the Writer. These days she is writing historical fiction, and won the 2013 Writers on the Storm contest and 2013 First Impressions, as well as being a 2012 Genesis finalist. Holder of a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in library science, she lives in Wisconsin. Her research included going for a ride in a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. Classic Boating Magazine, a family business since 1984, keeps her busy as an associate editor.

Connect with Terri:


GUEST POST — Linda Shenton Matchett

Today I’m happy to welcome author Linda Shenton Matchett as she discusses forgiveness and how our God is a God of second chances.

Forgiveness is a difficult thing. When others hurt us, we may find it difficult to forgive them, even after they’ve given us a heartfelt apology. We also struggle with forgiving ourselves. Despite the fact that Christ has forgiven and forgotten our past sins, we insist on dragging them around with us and allowing them to hinder our progress. When we do manage to cast them aside, Satan pulls them out and waves them in front of us.

The closest thing I come to golfing is a course with windmills, flamingos, and pirate ships, so I’m not versed in the vocabulary at all. But I learned one golf term several years ago from a co-worker who was a golf pro. The inside of his wedding ring was engraved with the word “mulligan” because he and his wife had remarried after divorcing many years before.

According to Wikipedia, a mulligan is “a second chance to perform an action, usually after the first chance went wrong through bad luck or blunder.” Every spring the U.S. Masters tournament, one of four major championships in professional golf is held in Augusta, Georgia. You can be sure that no one is allowed a mulligan.

Fortunately for us, God is a God of second chances, a God who regularly provided His people with a mulligan, a “do over,” if you will. For example, Rahab was a prostitute, yet is part of our Lord’s lineage. Or consider Paul who persecuted Christians, yet became a great missionary.

Do you sometimes wish there was a rewind button in your life? Have you said or done something you regret? Perhaps you are arguing with God about a task he would have. It’s not too late for a mulligan. Your second chance may be less dramatic than that of Bible characters, but it’s no less miraculous. And it’s available for the asking.

One of the themes in my latest publication, Under Fire, is forgiveness. Follow protagonist Ruth Brown as she seeks justice for her sister, and finds forgiveness in the process.

Readers: What is your favorite Bible story about forgiveness?


About Linda:

Linda Shenton Matchett is a journalist, blogger, and author. Her most recent book, Under Fire, was just released by eLectio Publishing. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry, Linda has lived in historical places most of her life. She is a docent at the Wright Museum of WWII and Trustee for the Wolfeboro Public Library. Click here ( to sign up for Linda’s newsletter and receive a free devotional, Devotions from a Writer.

Group blog:





Guest Post — Darlene Franklin

Today I’m happy to welcome author Darlene Franklin as she discusses her 50th book, Mermaid’s Song. Read all the way through to the end to find out how to enter to win a free ebook copy.

A funny thing happened on the way to Mermaid’s Song.

When I was invited to write a retold fairy tale, I chose Little Mermaid instinctively. I tweaked the story until I had a French-speaking Acadian who is shipwrecked off the coast of Maine. She is silent because no one speaks for French.

I quickly realized the difficulty I had created for myself. My heroine couldn’t speak. For someone who uses as much dialogue as I do, that presented a BIG challenge.

Justine learns English by the point-and-repeat method. One of my favorite scenes started out as a humorous incident. Justine says, “I eated the beans.” Noble shows her examples of irregular verbs ending with the “eat” sound and the “eap” sounds, which brings them to “weep/wept.”

Here’s what happened:

The verbs were the hardest. Justine thought through what she wanted to say. “I eated beans yesterday.”

Puzzlement showed on everyone’s faces. Noble recovered first. “You ate beans yesterday.” The men had to leave shortly after that, but the exchange stayed in her mind long after they’d said goodbye. Justine was bothered by it throughout the day. Ait. The word didn’t follow the pattern.

Noble must have been thinking about the same thing, because he returned from work with a list for them discuss, verbs that sounded like “eat.” He spent the hour after the meal teaching them to her.

Eat had a unique variation: I eat, I ate, I have eaten, I will eat, I am eating.

Several words worked the way they were supposed to: seat, weed, reap, among others. There seemed to be as many variations: I meet and I met. I keep and I kept. I read the Bible yesterday and I read it again today.

When they discussed Bible reading, he removed the book from the shelf and wrote John 11:35 on the paper. Justine flipped through the pages until she reached the fourth gospel. She had difficulty finding the verse, only two words hidden among longer verses.

Noble held his fingers a short distance apart. It was short, yes.

Justine recognized the names Lazarus, Mary, and Martha, and wondered if this was the account of the brother’s death and Jesus raising him from the dead.

She reread verse thirty-five. Jesus—wept? Like kept?

Jesus weeps? She wrote on the paper and said it aloud.

“Yes.” Noble took the pencil and drew a picture of a bearded man’s face who was crying. He drew a line from weep to the tears.

“Jesus—wept—about Lazarus.” She’d done it!

“Yes, Jesus wept about Lazarus. Well done.”

Pressure built behind Justine’s eyes. Jesus had wept, grieving with Mary and Martha, understanding their pain. Had He looked down on her when the ship disappeared into the depths of the sea, taking her family and village with it? Had He wept then?

Yes, Jesus had wept with her. She couldn’t hold the tears back. Noble sat next to her, and she rested her head on his shoulder. “It’s a good thing that you are weeping. If Jesus, the son of God needed to weep, so must you.”

Her tears increased, but she found peace in Noble’s presence.

About Darlene:

Best-selling hybrid author Darlene Franklin’s greatest claim to fame is that she writes full-time from a nursing home. Mermaid Song is her fiftieth unique title! She’s also contributed to more than twenty nonfiction titles. Her column, “The View Through my Door,” appears in five monthly venues. Other recent titles are Small Town Romances and Maine: If there’s romance…it must be Maine. You can find her online at: Website and blog, Facebook, Twitter, and her Amazon author page.





All her Christmas books are on sale for 99 cents until the end of the month.



Enter to win an ebook copy of Mermaid’s Song by answering the following question:

How familiar are you with Cajun culture? Do you have any favorite Cajun dishes, celebrations, music?

PROMISE KEEPER by Katheryn Maddox Haddad

Welcome today as we feature author Katheryn Maddox Haddad in Book 6 of her series.

Have you felt like an outcast all your life? That’s what Zaccheus and Jesus were.

Do you want to honor someone people are overlooking? That’s what Mary of Bethany did when she anointed Jesus with the oil of coronation.

Would you like to celebrate someone who has become a hero to the downtrodden? The commoners did that for Jesus and created a triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

Do you feel like an outsider at church? Jesus gave the Grecian Jews special attention.

Do you keep the Lord’s Supper every Sunday to honor Jesus’ terrible sacrifice? Jesus took time out of his busy life to suffer and give his life for you when he did not want to.

Is there someone trying to force you to do something wrong to accomplish good? Judas tried to force Jesus’ hand, and it backfired on him.

Are you ashamed because you fear death? Jesus cried with loud cries not to have to go through what he had to do.

Have you run away from something you need to do for Jesus? Jesus apostles did.

Are church leaders declaring you guilty in front of the congregation? The high priests did that to Jesus.

Is a government leader or law condemning your goodness? That’s what Herod
Antipas did to Jesus.


This series of eight novels—THEY MET JESUS—is dedicated to everyone who has ever doubted. It shows people who met Jesus in their stark humanness and curiosity, sometimes loving him, sometimes hating him, but never left the same. I was very careful about adding words of Jesus that are not in the Bible. At the end of each chapter are “Life Application Questions” for individual readers or book clubs, and ancient historical sources such as Josephus. At the end of each book are suggested readings for special occasions. COME, MEET JESUS ALL OVER AGAIN.


Katheryn began writing at age ten, and was “published” that same year in her local newspaper. She grew up in the cold north and now lives in Arizona where she do not have to shovel sunshine. She basks in 100-degree weather along with my palm trees, cacti, and a computer with most of the letters worn off.

With a bachelor’s degree in English, Bible and social science from Harding University and part of a master’s degree in Bible, including Greek, from the Harding Graduate School of Theology, she also has a master’s degree in management and human relations from Abilene University.

Her newspaper column appeared for several years in newspapers in Texas and North Carolina ~ Little Known Facts About the Bible ~ and she has written for numerous Christian publications.

She spends half her day writing, and the other half teaching English over the internet worldwide using the Bible as text book.  She is a member of Christian Writers of the West and is also an energetic public speaker.


Monthly Newsletter:





I’m excited to welcome author Ada Brownell today as she shares some history into the asylum and talks about her book, Peach Blossom Rancher.  Read through to the end and find out how to enter to win a free copy of Peach Blossom Rancher. Simply answer the question.


In Peach Blossom Rancher, the character, Dr. Dillon Haskill, reads a portion of the list given to me as a reporter: The Eleventh Biennial Report from the Board of Lunacy Commissioners, dated 1899 to 1900. The report lists the diagnoses for patients admitted during that time. Some diagnoses listed are what psychiatrists probably would say today were mental disorders, while others definitely would be questionable, such as paralysis, seizures, alcoholism, religious excitement, Christian Science, domestic problems, ill health, privation, jealousy, rheumatism, etc. This report is from the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo, which was on my beat as a reporter—but the asylum in the book is fictional. I placed it in Boston.

The Colorado State Insane Asylum opened on October 23, 1879 on 40 acres of land in northwest Pueblo. The Institute’s name was changed to Colorado State Hospital in 1917. In 1879 there were 12 patients. By 1961, the patient population grew to 6,100. It was a self-contained city, providing patients’ needs within 75 buildings on 300 acres of land on the main grounds, 5,000 acres at the dairy farm, and a cemetery. In 1962 philosophy and treatment were changed because of new discoveries and medications for mental disorders. Many patients moved back to their communities for treatment in less restrictive facilities. In 1991, the asylum was renamed the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo. By 2008, the patient census was fewer than 500 patients, about the average patient population today.

I’ve been there many times to gather information for newspaper stories, and they let me out!

The hospital has several divisions, including the Forensic Unit, which houses the criminally insane (Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity); General Adult; units for the Elderly and Juveniles; and a medical hospital for treatment of physical illnesses and injuries.
Units are separated into security levels.

Here are excerpts from Ada Brownell’s historical romance, Peach Blossom Rancher. This is a courtroom scene where two lawyers are trying to get three patients released from the asylum.


Dr Dillon Haskill cleared his throat and scanned the room again. “I studied mental illness along with my medical courses. My father is a minister, and he taught me about real demon possession.”

The superintendent sprang to his feet. “This imbecile doesn’t know anything. He has demons himself.”

Dr. Haskill ignored him. “As I told you before, I was sent to the asylum because I had one seizure in a public arena after hitting my head when I was bucked off a horse. I’ve never had another seizure. May I finish?”

The judge nodded, and Dr. Haskill continued. “Jimmy Cook over here has nothing wrong with him except he became paralyzed in a logging accident. A tree fell on him. He worked with a lumber mill during the summers, but he was a schoolteacher. He still can teach from a wheelchair. He is not insane, though he can’t walk. I have this longing to not only help the people thrown into asylums for every diagnosis under the sun but also to help those who don’t belong there get necessary medical treatment.”


“May I speak?” Jimmy Cook looked at Valerie, an attorney fighting for asylum patients. Since the straitjacket held Cook’s hands, she pushed his wheelchair toward the judge.

“Your honor, let me introduce you to Jimmy Cook,” she said. “He taught at Ambrose Preparatory School for nine years. Because books aren’t allowed in the asylum, Cook and Doctor Dillon Haskill taught little Pete here, and other patients, how to read and work numbers. They used only words and numbers they wrote on bits of paper or scratched on the wall with their spoons. Our lead attorney Archibald Forsythe, feels called by God, as I do, to help people wrongly held at the asylum. Archibald smuggled paper and pencils to them. Besides that, Cook told them stories from famous books, and Dillon Haskill sang hymns with them, shared Scriptures and Bible stories.”

The lawyers rattled papers. People coughed. Valerie faced the judge again. “May Jim Cook tell you his side of all this?”

The robed man nodded, obviously interested. “Go ahead. Give us your full name and address first, Mister Cook.”

Cook did, gave a short history of his education, and then he named awards he’d received in science and forestry. When Cook completed his testimony, the judge looked around the room. “Any more witnesses?”

“Yes!” The superintendent’s voice boomed and echoed against the high walls. “I call Doctor Henry Blackburn.”

Valerie wheeled Cook out of the way. The rotund doctor toddled forward. As he sat facing the crowd, he straightened his white cotton jacket over his bulging belly and then smoothed the pocket with his name boldly embroidered on it. He raised his face, but his two chins didn’t budge. His bushy white eyebrows stuck up, and his bald head shone like a big ball bearing. Dr. Blackburn stated his name and address, arched those bushy brows, leaned forward, and growled, “You might as well stop this circus now, judge. When we admit someone to the asylum, we’ve a reason for it.”

He eyed Dillon, Pete, and Cook as if he wanted to peel the skin off their faces. “Have you ever seen a person have a fit like Dillon Haskill did? When people have those fits, they fall down, jerk all over, foam at the mouth, gnaw on their tongue, and some can hurt you even though they don’t know what they’re doing. I don’t believe a little bump on the head can cause such behavior.”

“What about this ten-year-old kid called Pete?” the superintendent bellowed. The doctor puffed up the body that already threatened to blow the buttons off his white jacket. “Ever seen a Mongoloid who could read? These folks are making you a laughingstock, judge.”


“Dillon Haskill, as a medical doctor, how do you view insanity and the diagnoses of patients at the asylum?” asked Archibald, the lead attorney.

Dillon looked straight at the judge. “Let’s start with my problem. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, believed epilepsy is a physical disease and can be treated through natural methods. We know seizures can be caused by a birth defect, a brain injury, but also by a high fever, and if the fever goes too high, it could damage the brain.”

“How do you know?” Archibald asked.

“Because a normal child or even a completely intelligent, normal adult who has an extremely high fever for an extended length of time often is mentally disabled afterward, if he lives. But seizures also result from injuries to the head, or an abnormality in the brain such as a tumor. But we sometimes don’t know what causes the convulsion.”

Archibald folded his arms and looked at the doctor. “So what do you believe causes some people to lose their minds and become dangerous to themselves and to other people? What are your personal views of demon possession?”

Dillon tried to move in the tight straight jacket, then sighed. “My father had a theory, and I’m sure it’s true. Demon possession is a spiritual problem. Much of what they call insanity today is a physical malady. It could be caused by variations in the chemicals in the brain, which some doctors call humors. Mental disability might be a birth defect such as Down’s syndrome, which affects Pete here. You call them Mongoloids. They have mental limitations, but they are not insane or demon possessed.”



Peach Blossom Ranch March 1904

“Come on boy, your hard life is over.”

The sleek stallion pulled, snorted, grunted, yanked his head upward and tried to whirl away. John Lincoln Parks held the reins tight. “Come on. The judge isn’t here. The whip’s in your past.”

Bringing the animal all the way from Colorado’s Eastern Slope after the judge’s death hadn’t been easy. The judge, John’s uncle, was murdered near Yucca Blossom and would never return to the horse ranch and acres of peach orchards he expected to inherit from John’s father.

“He look like he a good un to breed,” Abe said, sweat glistening on his crinkled chocolate brow, “But an animal abused like ‘im usually is disobedient or loses his spirit.”

John rubbed the stallion’s neck and extended a hand with sugar cubes in it. “I don’t want to give up on him yet. Come on, boy. We’re going to be friends. You should be tired and hungry after that train trip.”

About Peach Blossom Rancher

      You won’t believe the work required to run a peach and horse ranch, or the types of diagnoses that could get you committed to an asylum in the early 1900s.

To write this historical romance the author drew from her experiences growing up in Fruita, Colo., near Palisade’s peach country, and from her years as a journalist covering the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo, a former asylum.

In this Historical Romance, a handsome young man inherits a ranch in ruin and hopes to marry a beautiful young widow who is an attorney. But she takes up the case of a brilliant doctor committed to an asylum because of one seizure. Will the rancher, the attorney, and the asylum patient achieve their dreams?

Suspense, romance, humor, murder, insanity, hope, fun, wrapped in an inspiring Western you won’t forget.

You’ll enjoy this book. Read a sample!

20 Reviews

Published by Elk Lake Publishing, a new traditional Christian small publisher.


About Ada:

Ada Brownell blogs and writes with Stick-to-Your-Soul Encouragement. She is the author of seven books, and more than 350 stories and articles in Christian publications. She now lives in Missouri, a beautiful state except for tornadoes and chiggers.

Amazon Ada Brownell author page:
Twitter: @AdaBrownell

Question: Why do you, or why don’t you believe spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ can help prevent mental illness and demon possession?

Leave a comment, and we will choose one winner randomly to receive a free copy of Peach Blossom Rancher.




July Inspirational Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Contemporary Romance:

On Love’s Gentle Shore by Liz Johnson — When Natalie O’Ryan’s fiancé books their wedding in her hometown, Natalie didn’t know the only reception venue available would be an old barn belonging to Justin Kane–the best friend she left behind all those years ago after promising to stay. As they work together to get the dilapidated building ready for the party, Natalie and Justin discover the groundwork for forgiveness–and that there may be more than an old friendship between them. (Contemporary Romance from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Their Ranch Reunion by Mindy Obenhaus — Single mom Carly Wagner is surprised to learn she’ll have to share ownership of the home she’s inherited with her first love—and first heartbreak—Andrew Stephens. The man who fled their tiny Western town is back and standing in the way of her dreams to expand her B and B. Now a successful businessman, Andrew has eight weeks to buy Carly out. But Carly’s too stubborn to persuade—and too beautiful to ignore. When fire ravages her inn and she and her daughter move in to their shared property, Andrew’s in over his head. Time is running out and Andrew must decide: leave and chase another deal…or stay and chase Carly’s heart. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Time and Tide by Kristen Terrette — Recovering from addiction and a near death experience, Chad moves to Moanna Island, a small island close to Savannah off the Atlantic coast, to begin a job with his family’s real estate empire, a job he was supposed to have taken years ago. Free-spirited Ryan Mason is a Moanna local girl from a blue-collar family. She’s dropped her own dreams to help her father care for her schizophrenic brother. When Chad and Ryan meet at the rehabilitation center where her brother lives, feelings develop between them. Can their crazy worlds ever fit together once he learns her secret and she finds out he is the sole heir to the Cusher Empire? (Contemporary from Hartwood Publishing Group)

Just Look Up by Courtney Walsh — When a workaholic interior designer returns to her hometown to check on her brother’s welfare, she reconnects with a soldier, secretly in love with her, over a renovation project that will help the struggling town. (Contemporary Romance from Tyndale House)

Cozy Mystery:

A Tempting Taste of Mystery by Elizabeth Ludwig — Judging a pie contest leads Cheryl Cooper and friends into mayhem and mystery after someone begins methodically sabotaging the entries. (Cozy Mystery from Guideposts Publications)

Over Maya Dead Body by Sandra Orchard — FBI Special Agent Serena Jones arrives on Martha’s Vineyard with her family, ready for a little bit of R&R and a whole lot of reminiscing as they celebrate the engagement of an old family friend. But crime doesn’t take a vacation, and she’s soon entangled in an investigation of a suspicious death tied to an antiquities smuggling ring.When her investigation propels her into danger, Serena must stay the course and solve this case before anyone else dies. But just how is she supposed to do that when the two men in her life arrive on the scene, bringing with them plenty of romantic complications–and even a secret or two? (Cozy Mystery from Revell [Baker])

Historical Romance:


The American Conquest (Window to the Heart Sage, Book 3) by Jenna Brandt — Margaret must leave behind her title and wealth in Europe in order to escape and start a new life in the Colorado Territory. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Of Rags and Riches Romance Collection by Susanne Dietze, Michelle Griep, Anne Love, Gabrielle Meyer, Natalie Monk, Jennifer Uhlarik, Erica Vetsch, Jaime Jo Wright, and Kathleen Y’Barbo — Journey along in nine historical romances with those whose lives are transformed by the opulence, growth, and great changes taking place in America’s Gilded Age. Nine couples meet during these exhilarating times and work to build a future together through fighting for social reform, celebrating new opportunities for leisure activities, taking advantage of economic growth and new inventions, and more. Watch as these romances develop and legacies of faith and love are formed. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

A Rebel in My House by Sandra Merville Hart — Promises can be impossible to keep–especially when a Confederate soldier trapped behind enemy lines looks to a Gettysburg seamstress for help. (Historical Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

A Match for Melissa by Susan Karsten — Wanting a godly husband, Melissa’s only choice is to follow her father’s wishes, even when doing so may not achieve the desires of her heart. (Historical Romance from Prism Book Group [Pelican]).

My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island by Carrie Fancett Pagels — Moor your heart on Mackinac Island along with resident sweetheart Maude Welling, an heiress trying to prove her worth by working incognito as a maid at the Grand Hotel. Meet Ben Steffans, a journalist posing as a wealthy industrialist who has come to the island to uncover a story about impoverished men pursuing heiresses at the famed hotel. Will a growing love between Maude and Ben be scuttled when truths are revealed in this Gilded Age romance? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Salvation by the Sea by Kristen Reed — Life has been anything but easy for Muirigan thanks to a series of life-altering calamities, but she’s found peace with her new, understated life by the sea. However, the maid’s past comes back to haunt her when she saves the shipwrecked Prince Halvard one morning. Failing to recognize one of his dearest childhood friends, the prince invites Muirigan to live at court as a reward for her valiant heroism. As the two reconnect, something deeper than friendship blossoms, but will their newfound affection survive when Muirigan’s lies are revealed and Halvard learns the truth about what has befallen since their tragic separation? (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Romantic Suspense:

Beneath Copper Falls by Colleen Coble — As a 911 dispatcher, Dana Newell takes pride in being calm in tough circumstances. In addition to her emotionally-charged career, she’s faced enough emergencies in her own life. She recently escaped her abusive fiancé to move to tranquil Rock Harbor where she hopes life will be more peaceful. But the idyllic town hides more danger and secrets than it first appeared. Dana is continually drawn to her new friend Boone, who has scars inside and out. Then she answers a call at her job only to hear a friend’s desperate screams on the other end. Soon the pain in her past collides with the mysteries of her new home—and threatens to keep her from the future she’s always wanted. (Romantic Suspense from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Thomas Nelson and Zondervan])


The Genesis Tree by Heather L.L. FitzGerald — Deception is rampant, the enemy is subtle, and love dares to tug at Sadie’s heart amid the turmoil that forces her and her family back to the Tethered World below. (Speculative/Contemporary Fantasy from Mountain Brook Ink)

Sue Barr — Book Spotlight: “Caroline”

I’m thrilled to welcome author Sue Barr as she shares about her latest book, Caroline. She has graciously included an excerpt and if you read all the way through, you’ll find out how to get a free copy of Chapter One from Caroline.

I’m quite excited about meeting your readers and them meeting me. My latest release revolves around Caroline Bingley, the villainess from Pride & Prejudice everybody loves to hate (besides Wickham), but I believe she’s redeemable. Isn’t that what Christ’s sacrifice is all about, to redeem all from their sin?

Part of Caroline’s problem was the hard fact women needed to marry in order to have security. During the Regency era (the time frame of my book), if a woman was not married she had to rely on relations to take her in. Now, if you were a spoiled miss who didn’t get along with anybody… well, that becomes a sticky wicket.

In Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, we discover Caroline does not want her brother Charles to wed Jane Bennet, she wishes him to marry Miss Georgiana Darcy, the sister of her unrequited love interest. She’s pursued Mr. Darcy quite vigorously and is chagrined to find he is marrying her arch nemesis, Elizabeth Bennet. All her avenues of happiness have been ruthlessly cut off and she is adrift, unsure of where she’ll go and what will become of her. This is where I began my redemptive story: CAROLINE.

I love the fact that no matter where you’ve been, or what you’ve done you can find freedom in Christ. “…casting all your care upon Him; for He cares for you.” I Peter 5:7

I will be giving away five free copies of Chapter One from CAROLINE. First come, first served.  Click on this link for your copy:



About Sue:  Sue Barr resides in beautiful Southwestern Ontario with her retired Air Force hubby, two handsome sons, (sorry girls, they’re taken), four grandchildren (hoping for more) and three fur babies. Sue is a member of Romance Writers of America and their affiliate chapter, Love, Hope and Faith as well as American Christian Fiction Writers.

For more information or to contact Sue, please visit her website:



About Caroline: Whatever happened to Caroline Bingley after her brother and unrequited love interest married a Bennet sister? Join me in this story of redemptive love and the healing of broken dreams.

Caroline Bingley, beyond frustrated with her brother, Charles and Mr. Darcy both proposing to the Bennet sisters, dreads their upcoming nuptials. For three years her sole focus has been on attaining a marriage proposal from one Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley, only to be foiled by a country miss with ‘fine eyes’.  Adrift and not sure of her place in life, she meets the mysterious and devastatingly handsome Lord Nathan, who equally vexes and intrigues her.

Lord Nathan Kerr, third in line to a Dukedom, had a well-earned reputation as a Rake. He cast all that and his noble title aside to become Mr. Darcy’s vicar in Kympton, finding contentment in leading his small flock and doing the Lord’s work. His plan for a quiet, country life is thrown into upheaval when he meets the fiery Miss Bingley. Can he reconcile his rising desire for the spoiled miss with how a vicar’s wife ‘should’ behave?


She sank onto the settee, her hand to her chest as it constricted with an unknown pain. For the past year she’d subtly hinted to a chosen few of Darcy’s fondness of her and how she expected him to come up to scratch in the near future. That he would marry her, Elizabeth Bennet…

She broke off the thought, yet her mind refused to heed her desires, racing in a multitude of directions, all of which led back to the fact that attendance at the wedding was mandatory. Crushed dreams or not, she had to present a pleasant face or risk becoming the laughing stock of the ton. It was only after Louisa went to speak with Cook about the evening meal that Caroline paced the front parlor, alone with her thoughts.

What was it about the men in her life that they became addlepated over a few plain country misses? Had they no sense at all? She blew out a frustrated breath and continued to pace.

She’d argued with her sister that although they would attend the wedding, there would be no convivial visits during Christmas. Louisa, the viper, pointed out they’d have to attend any and all christenings as Charles always wanted a houseful of children. At that statement she almost brought back up her tea.

She stopped pacing and clenched her fingers into a tight fist. Why hadn’t Darcy kept Charles away from Jane, and more disturbing, why had he proposed to Elizabeth Bennet? If only Darcy and Charles had taken her with them, then neither would be marrying into that odious family.

Of that, she was positive.

She pivoted from the window and sat on the settee near the fireplace. Her foot bumped something beneath the small couch and she pulled out the pillow she’d been stitching. Tension snaked through her body at the sight of her pitiful attempt to capture Pemberley in needlepoint and she nearly tossed the unfinished reminder of her failure into the fireplace.

Instead, all her anger, frustration, all her tattered hopes and dreams coalesced into a fit of fury and she tore the pillow to shreds with her bare hands. Minutes later, fingernails broken and fingertips bruised, she threw the mangled mess to the floor. Great gasps racked her chest as she fell to the floor and sobbed.

Buy Links:




Sam Houston’s Spiritual Journey — Lynne B. Tagawa

I’m excited to welcome author Lynne B. Tagawa today as she shares the spiritual journey of one of our brave men of history, Sam Houston. Read through to the end and find out how to enter to win a free copy of Sam Houston’s Republic (US only, please). Simply answer the question.


Mother was away, and his older brothers were occupied. Young Sam Houston’s palms sweated against the pistol he carried. He’d catch it for sure if they found out, but the frame of the cellar door beckoned, and he just had to know.


How tall was he? For a lad of only thirteen the length of his lanky legs was truly amazing. He stood against the doorframe, laid the firearm on top of his head, and pulled the trigger.


Raised by a godly woman who was widowed about the time of this escapade, Sam Houston was a man of extremes. He later described his mother as a “heroine,” but resented his bossy brothers who attempted to keep him in line. Eventually he ran away to live with the Cherokees where he could translate the Iliad in peace.


Later, as governor of Tennessee, tragedy struck him when a first marriage failed through no fault of his own. He began drinking heavily, and thoughts of suicide even flitted through his mind. But he heard of goings-on in the Mexican province of Texas, and soon mounted a homely horse and made his way west.


Chaos ruled. American settlers who had pledged their allegiance to Mexico were outraged when the cruel dictator Santa Anna cast aside the Mexican Constitution of 1824. Many were terrified and fled. Houston saw this unrest through the eyes of an attorney and statesman whose father had fought in the Revolutionary War. He sat the leaders of Texas down and made them write a Declaration of Independence before he would take up arms against Santa Anna. He would not fight unlawfully. The tyrant was soon defeated at the Battle of San Jacinto by Houston’s ragtag men.


His life was now knit to the nascent republic. But Sam Houston was also lonely. When he met young Margaret Lea several years later, a mutual bond quickly formed. But her family had doubts. True, he respected the Scriptures, but he was known to drink heavily at times. And what about that first marriage?


For her part, Margaret was a devout believer. But she thought she could be a help to this amazing man.


And she was. Houston welcomed her godly example. He began to read the Scriptures and pray as a daily habit. His drunken sprees were curtailed by her domestic influence. They eventually had eight children together.


Finally, while attending church in Washington during his years as senator, the Word of God found a true lodging in his heart. With the counsel of a minister, he overcame his doubts and came to faith in Christ. He was baptized in a creek in Independence, Texas, in 1854.


I wrote Sam Houston’s Republic chapter by chapter for my students. They needed something more interesting that a “normal” Texas History textbook. What if I could write it like a novel? True history in a narrative form? Aside from one or two vignettes that are carefully labeled as “might-have-beens,” the book is nonfiction.


A couple of things made this book a joy to write. First, Sam Houston’s spiritual journey. Naturally, secular textbooks omit the gospel in relation to Texas, or Sam Houston. Even the better biographies don’t say a lot. Primary source material—some of which just recently came to light—aided me in reconstructing Houston’s path to salvation.


Second, so much abounds on the history of Texas—memoirs, letters, and so forth—that even important conversations have been recorded for posterity. Sam Houston’s Republic contains the conversation between Houston and Santa Anna after the latter was captured. No need to make anything up or guess!


So yes, my first book is technically a nonfiction curriculum. But it was still storytelling of a sort, and served as a great segue for my next projects. A Twisted Strand in in pre-publication. It’s a modern day Medical Romantic Suspense—set in Texas. But my current project is truly my first love: history. It’s a historical romance set in the days of the Great Awakening.




      It was a warm, wet spring in the swampy bayou country of east Texas.  A tall man with clear blue eyes sat astride a huge gray stallion; alert, both were watching what neither of them could see.

The man urged his mount slowly forward.  Behind him, a scraggly army marched, silent but eager.  Ahead, beyond a slight rise of tall grass, lay the unseen camp of Santa Anna and his army.  The tall man, Sam Houston, knew that the Mexican dictator had received reinforcements just the night before.  The men behind him were now outnumbered.

But numbers weren’t everything.  The Mexican reinforcements were tired; they had to be.  Many of Santa Anna’s men suffered from dysentery; they were far from home and their supply lines were long.  It was now mid-afternoon and the shadows were beginning to lengthen.

Houston knew about the Mexican custom of afternoon siesta and he also knew that Santa Anna, the self-styled “Napoleon of the West,” was overconfident.  Perhaps the diminutive dictator was napping in his tent.

It was the Texans’ only chance.  Some of these men did not even have shoes, only the determination to avenge the slaughter of the Alamo.  Feeling the aches of old war wounds, and knowing that bravery alone did not win battles, Houston was realistic; he had retreated many miles to find a chance for his men.

Suddenly a rider galloped through the lines.

“Vince’s bridge is down!  They can’t get away, men! Victory or death!”


Lynn resized

About Lynne:

Lynne B. Tagawa is married and the mother of four sons. She attended the University of Hawaii where she met her husband and obtained a degree in secondary education. The Tagawas live in Texas where she teaches part-time.

She writes both educational materials and Christian devotionals; she is especially inspired by the lives of great men and women of faith.


Buy Link:


author, Sam Houston’s Republic

My editing services:


Question: If you read non-fiction, what makes a book come alive for you? And if you don’t read non-fiction, is credibility important to you regarding historical facts and figures and why? Or why not?

Leave a comment, and we will choose one winner randomly to receive a free copy of Sam Houston’s Republic.