Friday, January 3, 2020

Jan. 3 Guest Blog Donna Schlachter

Double Jeopardy – Lessons learned – with Giveaway

By Donna Schlachter

Life is a series of lessons learned. Some come easy, like learning to like ice cream. Others come more harshly, like learning to trust again once your heart is broken. Or figuring out how to tie your shoes.

Lessons learned always require change, and that always requires a decision. Many times folks might try to say, “I messed up because of one bad choice.” But that isn’t true. A series of bad choices, each one more serious and life-impacting than the previous, brings us to our “bad end.”

Or our “good outcome.”

In Double Jeopardy, Becky and Zeke learn some important life lessons:

  1. Trust the person more than the lies in your head: as with most romances, both characters like the other person, but they get their communication mixed up several times and begin to distrust each other. But if we really stop and remember the good in the other person, the lies will fade away.
  2. Be willing to forgive quickly: We all mess up. And Becky and Zeke are no different. They are imperfect. But being willing to forgive quickly allows doors of reconciliation to be opened.
  3. Talk it out: Miscommunication has killed more relationships than anything else. Whether the fault lies in misremembering the words, misunderstanding their meaning and context, or simply words misspoken, just like Becky and Zeke, we must be willing to apologize and ask for clarification.

It’s never too soon to establish a firm foundation for an upcoming marriage, and it’s never too late to repair cracks in the foundations of our existing relationships.

I hope you enjoy this excerpt. Keep reading to see how you can enter to win a free ebook.


Double Jeopardy

Chapter 1

1880 Silver Valley, Colorado

Dead. Dead as her dreams and her hopes.

Dead as a doornail, as her mother would say.

Just thinking about the woman drove a steel rod through Becky Campbell’s slumping back. Perched on a chair in the sheriff’s office, she drew a deep breath, lifted her shoulders, and raised her chin a notch. She would not be like the woman who birthed her. Pretty and pampered. A silly socialite finding nothing better to do with her days than tea with the mayor’s spinster daughter or bridge with the banker’s wife.

No, she’d much rather be like her father. Adventuresome. Charismatic. Always on the lookout for the next big thing.

Now her breath came in a shudder, and down went her shoulders again. She tied her fingers into knots before looking up at the grizzled lawman across the desk from her. “There’s no chance there’s been a mistake in identification, is there?”

He slid open the top drawer of his desk and pulled out a pocket watch, a lapel pin, and a fountain pen, which he pushed across the desk to her. “He was pretty well-known around here. I’m really sorry, miss.”

Becky picked up the timepiece and flicked open the cover. Inside was a photograph of her family, taken about ten years earlier when she was a mere child of eight and Father stayed around long enough to sit still for the portrait. Her mother, petite and somber, and she, all ringlets and ribbons. She rubbed a finger across the engraving. To R. Love M. Always.

Yes, this was his.

And the lapel pin, a tiny silver basket designed to hold a sprig of baby’s breath or a miniature rosebud—a wedding gift from her mother twenty years before.

She looked up at the sheriff, tears blurring her vision. “And his ring?”

The lawman shook his head. “No ring. Not on his body or in his shack.”

“But he always wore it. Never took it off.”

He shrugged. “Maybe he lost it. Or sold it.”

“I doubt he’d do either. My mother gave it to him when I was born.”

She peered at him. Had he stolen her father’s ring?

Or maybe Sheriff Freemont was correct. Maybe something as important as her birth hadn’t meant much to her father. Maybe she didn’t either. Was that why he left?

Because surely his absences couldn’t be explained by any rift between her parents.

Although, what Matilda Applewhite saw in Robert Campbell—Robbie to his friends and family—Becky had never understood. Her mother, who ran in the same circles as the Rockefellers and the Astors, with presidents and admirals—yet much to the consternation of her family, chose a ne’er-do-well like Becky’s father.

Becky set the two items side by side on the scarred wooden desk, next to the fountain pen. The same one he’d used to write his letters to her. Signing them, Give your mother all my love too. Your devoted father. She needed no more information. No more proof.


Not what she hoped for when she left New York a month prior, against her mother’s wishes, with little else to direct her steps than a ticket to Silver Valley and her father’s last letter. Written a year before, but as full of life, promises, hopes, and wishes as ever.

She collected the only three material evidences of her father’s existence and dropped them into her reticule then stood. “Thank you for your time, Sheriff. I appreciate my father’s death must be a difficult business for you.”

He stood and dipped his head. “Yes, miss.”

“Do you know how he died?”

He cleared his throat, not meeting her gaze. “Still investigatin’, miss. Lots of things to look into.”

She bit back a groan. Unlike in the city, where manpower and resources seemed limitless, out here, there was just the sheriff and sometimes a deputy. “Thank you again. Please keep me updated.” She turned to leave. “Where is he buried?”

“Over by the church. Just ask the preacher. He can show you.”

Not like she was in any rush to see her father’s final resting place. She stepped outside and scanned the street. Surely the man who was more gypsy than family man would hate to think of his physical body buried beneath the dust of any one place.

A morose sense of humor invaded her. At least it was a way to get him to stay in one place longer than it took to eat a meal.

Sheriff Fremont joined her on the front step. “You’ll likely be returning home now, I ’spect.”

She looked up past his dimpled chin, his bushy mustache, his aquiline nose, into eyes as dark as coal. “No, sir. I have no plans to return.”

“What will you do?”


She blinked several times as she pondered the question, which was a very good one indeed. She’d not thought beyond the ache building in her bosom for the father she’d never see again. At least when he went off on yet another adventure, she had the unspoken promise of his return at some point, in the distant future. And always a letter. Or a postcard. Never many words on either, but confirmation he was alive and she was still important to him.

At least, important enough to sit a few minutes and pen a few words.

She stared at the dusty mining town. More tents than wooden structures. More mules than horses. More assay offices than churches.

Two men tumbled onto the boardwalk opposite her, rolled down the two steps to the street level, and lay prone in the dirt littered with horse apples. The barkeep, a barrel-chested man, his formerly white apron now stained beyond redemption and a dingy cloth slung over his arm, burst through the swinging doors. “And don’t come back here. We don’t need the likes of you in here bothering our customers.”

The man turned on his heel and disappeared back into the saloon. Within ten seconds, the tinny notes of a piano filtered to her ears.

The two in the street lay still.

Had he killed them?

A pack of boys ran from a nearby alley, grabbed a hat from one the men’s heads, and raced down the street, jabbering and hollering like their britches were on fire. Three mongrels loped after them, tongues lolling and tails held high.

She turned back to the sheriff. “Is there a decent boarding house in town?”

One eye squinted as he peered at her for a long moment before nodding slowly. “So, you’re going to stay?”

“I have no reason to return.”

She glanced at the two men in the street. One climbed to his feet, swaying unsteadily, while the other puked into the dust without even lifting his head. The acrid odor wafted across to her, and she wrinkled her nose, breathing through her mouth. Until the smell coated her tongue. Then she snapped her mouth shut.

Maybe this wasn’t the town for her …

No. She would never give her mother opportunity to say I told you so.

“Well, we got us a hotel above the saloon over yonder, and just about every drinking establishment in town rents out rooms, but I wouldn’t recommend those places. Mrs. Hicks over at number fourteen Front Street rents out a few rooms in her house. Tell her I sent you.”

“Thank you, Sheriff.” She took a couple of steps, her drawstring bag banging against her thigh. “I’ll also need directions to my father’s claim so I can get that transferred into my name. As his next of kin.”

“You’ll need to check with the Land and Assay Office, two doors up from the mercantile. But I don’t know what kind of a title he bought. Some can be transferred, but most who come out here can’t think past their next pay lode, so they don’t spend the money to buy that kind.”

She tipped her head. “You mean I might need to buy my own father’s property?”

He shrugged. “Not that I know much, but that’s what I’ve heard. I wish you luck, miss. You’ll need it if you plan to stay here.” He tipped his hat to her before closing his door.

Becky drew in a breath of the warm May afternoon then released it in a sigh. First the cost of the train ticket, then her meals and occasional hotel rooms along the way. And now this. Was there no end to the ways her dwindling cache of gold coins could disappear like snow in July?

First things first—a proper place to stay tonight. She picked up her carpetbag waiting on the bench outside the sheriff’s office and walked in the direction the lawman had indicated toward the home of Mrs. Hicks. Her heels beat a rhythm like a drum corps in a parade. She nodded to women and couples she passed but averted her eyes from the solitary men.

And there were many. Of all sizes and shapes, ages, and deportment. Several ogled her from the chairs they occupied outside the six—no, seven—saloons she passed, and that was only on her side of the street. A lone barber lounged in one of his three chairs, not a customer in sight, testifying to the fact that the men hereabouts were more interested in cards, booze, and loose women than in personal hygiene.

A fact she confirmed when one lout stood his ground and refused to let her pass. Cheap perfume, rotgut whiskey, and sweat mingled to create an odor that made her eyes water.

Another man stepped up behind the drunk. “Micky, are you troubling this young lady?”

Micky swayed in place, twisting the brim of his hat in gnarled fingers. “She one of your flock?”

“Doesn’t matter. Apologize and move on.”

The drunk tipped his hat to her in apology and stepped back against the building, allowing her to continue. The preacher, his collar white against the severe black suit, nodded, and she acknowledged his courtesy with a tiny smile. “Thank you. Reverend?”

The clergyman dipped his head. “Obermeyer, Pastor Obermeyer.”

She held out her hand. “I’m Becky Campbell.”

He blinked a couple of times then his brow raised. “Oh, you’re—”

“Yes. Robbie Campbell’s daughter.” She glanced over her shoulder. “The sheriff told me you could show me where my father is buried.”

He held her hand and sandwiched it between his own. “Please accept my condolences on your loss, Miss Campbell.”

“Thank you.” That now too-familiar ache swelled in her bosom. Would it never ease? “If I may call on you another time? I’m off to find lodging.”

He tipped his head to one side. “Oh, you’re staying?”

Why did everybody think that because her father was dead, she would leave?

Or was this wishful thinking on their part?

If so, why?

She nodded. “I am.”

He shook himself like a hound dog awakening from a nap. Had he stretched and yawned, she would not have been surprised. “Good. Good.” He pointed down the street. “The church is there. The parsonage is the tiny house behind. I’m in my study most days. Come any time.” He tipped his hat. “Perhaps I’ll see you in church tomorrow?”

“We shall see. Thank you for rescuing me from that horrible man.”

His shoulders slumped. “So many have too much time and money on their hands.” He quirked his chin toward the others walking along the street. “Many work all week then come into town and spend it on a Saturday, only to go back and repeat the same cycle next week.”

Sounded like a hopeless cycle. But what could she do about it? Nothing. If she wanted to make it on her own here, she had her work cut out to stay out of the poorhouse. She surely wouldn’t ask her rich-as-Midas mother for assistance. Maybe once she got on her feet … “Thank you again. Good day.”

She gripped her carpetbag and continued on her way, pleased that at least two men in this town—the sheriff and the parson—were raised by genteel women. She should count herself lucky she’d met both today. Having even one on her side might come in handy at some point. And having two—well, that was just downright serendipitous.

Three blocks through the business section, then a right for two blocks, and she soon found the house she sought. Narrow but well-kept flower gardens lined both sides of the walkway. She unlatched the gate, headed for the door, and knocked. Her gloved hands sweating, she longed for a cool drink of lemonade or sweet tea. As she raised her hand to knock again, the door swung open and a tall, thin woman of indeterminate age peered down at her.

Becky tossed her a smile and introduced herself. “The sheriff said you might have a room for rent?”

“How long?”

“I’m not certain. I plan to stay until I settle my father’s estate, at least. Possibly longer.”

The stern look on the woman’s face eased. “Sorry for your troubles. Four dollars a week including meals.” She peered past Becky. “And I only take respectable women. No children. No men. My name is Joan Hicks.”

While the amount seemed high, Becky had little choice. “My name is Becky Campbell.”

“Oh, you’d be—”

Becky sighed. Either her father was famous, or infamous. The former, she hoped. “Yes. His daughter. And yes, I’m staying in town until I get his claim sorted out.”

The wrinkles around the landlady’s eyes deepened, and her mouth lifted in a smile. “Actually, my next question was if you want dinner tonight?”

“I would. Thank you. What time?”

“Dinner’s at five. Perhaps you’d like to see your room and freshen up.”

She was going to like this obviously kindly, no-nonsense woman. So unlike her own mother. “Thank you.”

The interior of the house was dark but cool, and Becky followed Mrs. Hicks up two flights of stairs to one of three doors that opened off the top landing. The landlady stood aside and held out her hand, palm up. “Payment due in advance. Pot roast for dinner.”

Becky dug the four coins from her reticule and handed them over. “Thank you.”

“No keys for any of the rooms. I got the right to inspect the room with an hour’s notice. No cooking or smoking in the rooms. Privy is out the back door.”

Becky swallowed back a lump of disappointment. She’d expected indoor plumbing, just as she enjoyed in New York, but the modern conveniences hadn’t made their way this far west.

Or at least, not to this house in Silver Valley.

She entered what would be her home for at least the next week, longer if she could figure out how to make her remaining money stretch further. She set her bag on a dressing table, and then she closed the door. When she sank onto the bed, the springs creaked beneath her weight. She sighed.

A pang of—of what? Homesickness? Missing her father? Wishing things were different?—caught her off guard, spreading through her like a flooding river, threatening to wash away all hope. So much for her dreams of prospecting with her father in the mountains of Colorado. Of catching up on all the years they’d missed.

Rather, that she had missed.

She doubted her father had lacked any adventures or excitement.

His life had been so different from her own.

She dumped the contents of her drawstring bag onto the bed and sorted through them. Sixty-three dollars which, along with the hundred or so in her carpetbag, should tide her over for a while. If she didn’t have to buy her father’s claim. If she didn’t have to pay top dollar for every single thing she needed.

Because if there was one thing still alive in her, it was the desire to understand her father. To understand what drove him to leave the comforts of home and travel to this remote place. Was it the lure of silver? Was he simply tired of his refined life? Of his wife?

Of her?

I will randomly draw one name from all who leave a comment for a free ebook of Double Jeopardy.

Don’t forget to stop by our Launch Event at:

Double Jeopardy is available at, and fine booksellers in your area.

About Donna:

Donna lives in Denver with husband Patrick. As a hybrid author, she writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts, and has been published more than 30 times in novellas and full-length novels. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Writers on the Rock, Sisters In Crime, and Christian Authors Network; facilitates a critique group; and teaches writing classes online and in person. Donna also ghostwrites, edits, and judges in writing contests. She loves history and research, and travels extensively for both. Donna is represented by Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary Management. Receive a free ebook simply for signing up for our free newsletter!

Books: Amazon: and Smashwords:

Friday, December 27, 2019


Missing Deposits – The Story Behind the Story – with giveaway

By Leeann Betts

Readers—and writers, too, for that matter—often ask me where I get the ideas for my stories. Well, in this case, I wanted to set my story in Colorado so I could enter several state-based writing contests that require a Colorado setting.

As I do with just about every book in this series, I made up a fictional town based on a part of the state I’d recently visited and which I thought readers might like to learn more about. The Grand Mesa/Mesa Verde National Park area on the western slopes of Colorado is a world unto itself. The scenery is spectacular, the weather is iffy, but the people are generally warm-hearted and compassionate.

I also wanted a politically conservative setting, because while not exclusively so, politically conservative folks also tend to be church-goers, and I wanted both Carly and Mike to be slam-dunked into a situation where they had to re-examine their spiritual beliefs. Throughout this series, a little here and a little there, Carly and her husband have been introduced to the Christian faith.

The couple who hosts Carly and Mike on their working vacation are named after very good friends—first names, only. Their last name was drawn from a desire to design a brand that I could draw. A Lazy L, in brand terms, is one that lays horizontally.

The details about the black-footed ferrets are mostly true. Not about the truck accident that dropped several of the critters on the western slope, but they were transported down I-25 into Arizona and New Mexico. At the timing of this story, 2005, they were on the “extinct in the wild” list, although they have since recovered are now on the “endangered” watch list.

Leave a comment, and I will draw randomly for a print copy (US only) or ebook version (winner’s choice) of Missing Deposits.

About Missing Deposits:

Carly looks forward to a vacation when Mike is hired to assist an association of ranchers in western Colorado catalogue their various mineral rights following the discovery of several large deposits. However, Carly soon learns that the real wealth—and the real danger—aren’t below ground. Someone is out to keep a secret bigger and more profitable than gold and copper. And they’re willing to kill for it.

About Leeann:

Leeann Betts writes contemporary romantic suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical romantic suspense. Missing Deposits is the 11th title in her cozy mystery series, and together she and Donna have published more than 30 novellas and full-length novels. They ghostwrite, judge writing contests, edit, facilitate a critique group, and are members of American Christian Fiction Writers, Writers on the Rock, Christian Authors Network, and Sisters in Crime. Leeann travels extensively to research her stories, and is proud to be represented by Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary LLC.

Website: Receive a free ebook just for signing up for our quarterly newsletter.

Books: Amazon  and Smashwords:

Monday, December 2, 2019

Cyber Monday Books With Supernatural Effect

GIFTS FOR Cyber Monday!
A great day to order one or all of this news reporter’s/ Medical Writer’s/ Christian novelist’s/Christian educator’s/ ADA NICHOLSON BROWNELL books! Browse through the summaries to find Great Inspiring books for young and old they’ll never forget! Common sense books they'll remember.

All the books are available on Amazon in paperback or for Kindle. Imagine the Future You also is available in Audio. See link to Ada Brownell’s author page at the end.

Love’s Delicate Blossom

As she prepares to leave for college, Ritah hopes to teach women how to manage money, start a business, run a farm, and even prevent and treat illness and injuries. IN 1917 few have access to a doctor while war and disease make many wives into widows -- and children into orphans.
Ritah is nearly ready to board the train when she discovers her friend Tulip, whose parents died of cholera, was kidnapped by a man who wants to make her work in a brothel.
Then wealthy Edmund Pritchitt III pressures Rita to stay home and get married.
Everywhere she turns, Rita must make choices. Will she be victorious?


The groans of a woman in the throes of birth pangs come from the barn loft of John Lincoln Parks. Who is it? He has enough to do trying to restore his horse herd and bring the peach orchards back to bearing fruit. Polly the cook/housekeeper delivers the baby, but John keeps finding people who need him or a miracle. The woman he hopes to marry, a lawyer, is trying to get people who are not insane out of an asylum Edwina Jorgenson, his rancher neighbor, has a peeping Tom. The peeper’s bootprints are like those in John’s barn after a body was dropped there.
Will John achieve his goals and dreams, regain his faith, or be tried for murder?

The Lady Fugitive

How does a respected elocutionist become a face on a wanted poster?
In 1908 Jenny Louise Parks, 17, escapes from the coal bin, and her abusive uncle offers a handsome reward for her return.  
Determination to remain free grips Jenny, especially after she meets William O’Casey and there’s a hint of romance. But while traveling around the country peddling household goods and showing one of the first Passion of the Christ motion pictures, William discovers his father’s brutal murder.
Will Jenny avoid the bounty hunters? Can she forgive the person who turns her in?
2015 Laurel Award runner-up.
#Review You’ll laugh, bite your nails; wish you had a gun to help. Fifty-nine reviews.

The Castle and the Catapult: Joe the Dreamer

Enter an area where people are missing and radicals want to obliterate Christianity from the earth. Joe Baker’s parents are among the missing and he finds himself with someone after him.
Reader: This book is relevant to what is happening today. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in years.

What prayer can do

True testimonies of true events where God intervened.
Ennis Surratt, known as the “meanest man in town,” changed in a moment. John Feliciano, blinded in an industrial accident, sees instantly. Marjorie Eager’s family escapes death when God stops a forest fire. More amazing chapters originally published in The Pentecostal Evangel, enough for every week of the year, with three bonuses.


A motivational Bible study

Ready or not, you’re going into your future.
If you continue to do what you do now, what kind of future will you have? This Bible study will help you discover evidence for faith in God; how to look and be your best; who can help; interesting information about dating, love and marriage; choosing a career; how to deposit good things into your brain you can spend; and how to avoid hazards that jeopardize a successful life for earth and eternity, all mingled with true stories that can make you smile.
Also available in audio. Read or listen to the first chapter free.

SWALLOWED BY LIFE: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal
13-week Bible study:

Do you believe you could live with someone else’s heart or kidneys, but not without your body? Evidence shows we’re more than flesh. Written by a prolific religion writer and medical journalist, this non-fiction inspirational book is a great text for group study.
Review: “It was wonderful how the author merged the medical with the spiritual.”

The author tells what it was like to grow up in a Pentecostal home, miracles she witnessed, and then of her own journey following the Lord. Her inspiring confessions of faith will encourage and bless believers everywhere.
Originally published by the Assemblies of God in 1978, the book was listed in 2011 and many other years among ten top recommendations on Pentecostalism by The Library Thing.
Review: Confessions Of a Pentecostal is more than just a book or a story; it is an ultimate look inside another person's faith.

Amazon Ada Brownell author page:

Tuesday, October 22, 2019


I thought I was going to retire. After all, I’ve been writing for publication since I was in my teens.

I was bored with retirement in a hurry, and I knew I still had things I wanted to do. When I told people about some of the adventures we had working for the Rio Grande Western Railroad, they asked, “Why haven’t you written that story?”

So, I kicked retirement aside, and made my way back to my desk.

We married in October 1953. Les asked me out when I was barely 15 and he was 19, but already working for the railroad. Daddy would have chased him off, but he was my brother-law Junior’s brother.

I wasn’t any ordinary kid. I’d been cleaning houses and taking care of children since I was in the sixth grade. At that time, I helped my aunt manage her small motel, even helping with painting and updating rooms and the exterior. I was the youth leader at our church. Sometimes I sang solos, or a duet with a sister, during services so I was noticed for more than my red hair and freckles.

I was surprised when Les asked me out, and kept being surprised at how determined he was to make me his wife. My older sister had been engaged five times, so when he asked me to marry him, I thought, “That’s once.”

He sent me telegrams that I picked up at Fruita’s railroad depot every week when he worked out of town. He wrote letters in between.

So we had a beautiful wedding and began living all over Colorado’s majestic mountains.

We spent our first anniversary at Pando, near the top of Tennessee Pass, and lived in a log cabin across from the depot.

We lived in the depot in Avon, close to Vail, in the agent’s quarters, but within reaching distance of the dispatcher’s phone and we could hear the click of the telegraph key’s sounder from the living room. The bay window where Les worked sat only about ten feet from the tracks.

When a train headed up the mountain, you could hear the locomotive’s wheels grinding and pushing for miles. Often the train had a helper engine behind the caboose. The monster locomotives pulled probably sixty cars then. But downhill was different. Loaded boxcars jostled against each other like huge creatures trying to be first in line. The locomotive whistled for the crossing, shook the depot like it wanted to make all the nails rattle, and then disappeared down the two shiny steel ribbons.

In Malta, we lived in a railroad boxcar, with a lean-to mud-room and living room built on.

Junior and my sister Joan came to visit there, with Linda, their tiny daughter. They were fascinated by our home. We bought a beautiful white Maytag gas range for the kitchen, and purchased a propane tank to haul around with us for fuel. The kitchen part of the boxcar house was about three feet above the lean-to area. It still sat on wheels.

When we turned off the lights that night and started to snooze, a shaky little voice said, “Mama, is a train going to come in the night and take us away?”

Some little railroad towns had no company housing and few rentals available, When we arrived in Thompson, Utah (at that time Les could bid on jobs in Utah) , only one house was up for rent—a dilapidated shack covered with wind-blown tar paper on one section, and rusty corrugated metal on the remainder. As with much of the housing in those days, no bathroom, only an outhouse. The boxcar had a pipe with running water in a little cabinet in the kitchen, but no sink. An ancient wood-burning cook stove sat in one end of the two-bedroom building.

I scrubbed and scrubbed the flowered linoleum floor and waxed it until it gleamed. I put curtains, colorful shelf paper on the kitchen cabinet, and when we brought in our furniture it didn’t look too bad.

My rich Uncle Bill dropped by to see us there. I was mortified.

He looked around and grinned. “I could build a house like this for about fifty bucks. But take a picture of this, and when your kids grow up tell them, “We started out the hard way.”

I have more stories about our lives revolving around the railroad, such as after we bought a beautiful mobile home and had it pulled by a truck to Leadville, Colo. Les was working a temporary job in Texas Creek and with about two feet of snow on the mobile home, our water froze. If you read the upcoming book, you’ll find out what happened when I went out at 2 a.m. to thaw the water pipes.

Yet, I have no regrets about marrying a telegrapher or going from town to town. God sent amazing people into our lives, and He walked with us every step of the way.

We’re in our 80s now, and in five days we will be married 66 years.

God’s faithful love and promise to direct our footsteps has been amazing. I look back today and marvel and the Lord’s plans for our lives and how He fulfills them.

*Copyright Ada Brownell 2019

Monday, October 14, 2019


How Christianity changes the world

By Ada Brownell

The world has changed before my eyes during my lifetime.

I was a kid in the early 1940s when a visiting missionary stretched a snake skin over the church altar. The reptile skin was as wide as the mourner’s bench, and almost went from aisle to aisle in our little church in Fruita, Colo.

“That kind of snake hides in the trees in Africa,” my brother told me. “They drop, squeeze you to death and swallow you whole.”

The missionary showed a movie of almost-naked Africans that heard the gospel for the first time. I thought hearing about Jesus and His love was good, with them living with big snakes and all. Then my brother informed me some were cannibals.

The missionary also told how a witch doctor came to Jesus and the whole village accepted Christ, and danced with joy.

Then I read about Christian missionaries who took the gospel to remote Indian tribes in Ecuador during the 1950s.

 After learning Spanish, Jim Elliot and his wife, Elisabeth, studied tropical diseases and how to treat medical problems in the jungle. Jim and Elisabeth also translated the New Testament into the Quechua language. They ministered to the Quechua Indians from their missionary station at the base of the Andes Mountains.

One day the pilot, Nate Saint, who flew in supplies, spotted Auca Indian houses. The five missionaries prayed for a way to reach Aucas with the gospel.

Saint found a beach where they could land. They prayed, traded gifts with the Indians, and Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Pete Fleming, Ed McCully, and Roger Youderian set up camp.

Three Aucas acted friendly, but on January 8, 1956, hostile Aucas speared the missionary men to death.

Yet, Elisabeth Elliot and her daughter Valerie, along with Rachel Saint (Nate Saint’s sister) went back and lived with the tribe. With the help of Dayuma, an Auca woman, Elisabeth created a written language and used it to translate the Bible. Now many Auca Indians are literate Christians.

Following Jesus has always been dangerous. In the 20th Century, Christians were among millions killed or starved by Communist dictators Mao (China), Stalin (Russia), Leopold (Belguim), Tojo (Japan), and the world has no idea how many thousands have been killed by Islamic radicals in the 21st Century.

Nevertheless, nations have been changed by Christians who teach what Jesus taught: “Love your neighbor as yourself; Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you; Love your enemies and do good unto those that despitefully use you.”

 A 2011 Pew Research poll showed China now has an estimated 67 million Christians. Africa is the zone of Christianity’s greatest growth today, according to Crux, a Catholic publication. Africa is the world’s most populous Christian continent, with slightly more Christians than in North America. The Pew Forum projects that by 2050, sub-Saharan Africa will have 1.1 billion Christians, almost twice as many as its nearest rival, Islam.

Gospel light blazed from missionaries, but also evangelists such as Billy Graham. Christian organizations built hospitals, orphanages, schools, universities, and charitable agencies. Christians lift up the value of human life, equal human rights, compassion and mercy; education, marriage and family; and freedom.

My friends Ruth and Curtis Butler went to the Philippines to teach the gospel and stayed despite finding cobras in the kitchen. They weren’t harmed and served thirty-one years in missions.

Why take risks like deadly snakes to spread Christianity?

Because each person needs to know God loves him, will forgive sin, and gives eternal life. No one can be forced to believe and receive salvation. It’s a choice, but “how can they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?” (Romans 10:14).

Ada Brownell, a retired reporter for The Pueblo Chieftain, has nine published books and writes occasionally for Christian publications. Her blog:

Thursday, September 19, 2019


By Ada Brownell

Ever thought about the DNA in a flower? Or the wonder of love?

In my book, Love’s Delicate Blossom, —I discovered fruit blossoms are much more than pretty flowers. Maybe that’s why bouquets are part of weddings. Here’s what the leading man in the book has to say about blossoms and love.  Joe Nichols, explains it to the beautiful redhead, Ritah O’Casey, who has another fellow after her.

They were almost to Aunt Charlotte’s house, and Joe slowed the team to a crawl. He turned his dark-haired head toward Ritah. “The way I figger it…” He paused, looked away and then back to her. “Love is sort of like growing peaches in an orchard. Doesn’t your uncle have a peach ranch?”

She adjusted her pretty hat trimmed with white roses and moved the hat pin a little to hold it atop her head. “Yes. In Colorado. Uncle John inherited it.” Ritah wondered where Joe was going with his thought. “John grows wonderful tree-ripened peaches, and it’s the best fruit I’ve ever eaten. It’s so sweet, juicy and wonderful.”

Joe smiled at her, his white even teeth reflecting the evening sun. “That’s what I think love is like. Some of the girls I know are like a sour pie cherry. Others are like a plum, sweet but still a little sour. I’ve gone out with one or two who never laughed, smiled, and I felt after I got home like I’d been eating green apples. Yet peaches aren’t as easy to raise as many other fruits. The blossoms are so delicate it doesn’t take much cool weather to kill them. I think real love is like that, something special that must be cared for, like a peach.”

Ritah jerked her head up and blinked at him. “That’s awesome. I’ll have to think on that, and sometime maybe I can tell you why Edmund is in love.”


“That’s his name.”

He grinned. “Interesting.”

Then she realized she’d never said she was in love. Her smile flashed back at him and the connection they made with their eyes sent sparks through her.


Toward the end of the book Ritah discovers lots more about peach blossoms, and it has to do with the pesky seed.

Hopefully Love’s Delicate Blossom will be published by Sept. 15.

Here’s the summary and links to the other two books in the series, The Lady Fugitive and Peach Blossom Rancher.

Love’s Delicate Blossom Summary:

Ritah Irene O’Casey has three goals: Graduate from college, teach school, and persuade other women to use their brains, talents and ministries. But in 1917 few women attended college and in many districts teachers weren’t allowed to marry. Some women in their Iowa town are throwing their lives away working as prostitutes in the new brothel. Yet, a few don’t even have basic skills for survival as old maids or widows.

Ritah knows the war will make widows of many more women. Too many already sent their children to orphanages when illness death, or alcohol invades their homes.

Ritah believes a woman is as intelligent as a man, and a woman shouldn’t view herself as a slave or a plaything for men. In her mind, women should be respected. First they need to live for God. Then even though they might not have much schooling, they should study like their lives depend on it, because they often do.

The week before Ritah leaves for college, she rescues Tulip, whose parents died of cholera and a man tries to enslave the young lady, only age 14, in prostitution. Ritah finds a feisty widow lady for the gal to live with, but there’s still a mess of trouble.

BOOK 2 in the Peaches and Dreams series.

Ada Brownell’s Amazon page

Monday, September 16, 2019



What did Muslim extremists expect to accomplish after the first 9-11 bombings?

What were their plans f they succeeded in destroying The World Trade Center Towers, The Pentagon, The White House or U.S. Capitol?

What was their next move?

Perhaps I’m interested in this because as a newspaper reporter I wrote stories about chemical weapons stockpiles in Pueblo, Colo., and Toole, Utah. I wrote mostly about the trouble our nation has in trying to destroy chemical weapons. I’m retired and I don’t think they’ve had success yet.

I’ve written other articles about the military, and have done some reporting on prisons, and mental hospitals.

But I also have done biblical and other research.

I’ve never heard any theory or investigation that the U.S. Government thinks would have been the radical Islamic terrorists’ whole goal in their attempt at destroying America. Would they have laughed at all the destruction, the shock of Americans and the paralyzing of much of our military defense?

Or would they be ready to take over the military if the leadership had been destroyed, including killing the president, much of Congress, and much of our important infrastructure? Did they have a plan to shut down all military bases, state and local government, all law enforcement, airports, and transportation?

Did they have terrorists stationed all over American and a plan to put into into effect?

I’ve heard they can shut down a nation through cyber attacks that take down programed electronic operations, shut off all electricity and power stations. It’s been said during a cyber attack it’s possible sll vehicles would stop and block highways everywhere, probably even stop airplanes and trains.

WE have no idea what terrorists might do in the future, but we’ve been warned. Way back in The Apostle Paul’s era he wrote:

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts.  Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Timothy 3:1-7).


St. Paul says,  “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived., But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;

15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures” (He’s speaking to Timothy here.) “ e able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”

Then the Apostle Paul tells that he knows he soon will be a martyr, but he said, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:  Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

WE ARE NOT WITHOUT HOPE. Even though such wickedness was rampant in Paul’s time, millions found a Savior, a Redeemer, in Jesus Christ whom Paul met after the Resurrection. Paul’s letters he wrote in the New Testament point people to salvation, to forgiveness of sins, and abundant and eternal life today all over the world, even in the countries where radical Islam survives.

What will you do in perilous times now?