Friday, August 19, 2016

I rode across the Royal Gorge in a gondola

To get an idea of what a ride across Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado is like, look at this video

By Ada Brownell

The gondola swung over the chasm while I and our two older children peered down.

My husband stood on the edge of the canyon holding our younger daughter’s hand. He hadn’t been about to go.

I considered why I didn’t fear this ride that terrified others. We couldn’t see them as we rode, but I knew huge cables held the gondola. We could see automobiles slowing crossing the Royal Gorge Bridge below. It was a long ways down. To me it wasn’t much different from riding an elevator or sitting in a Sunday school classroom in the basement while a crowd of heavy people sat above me.

I trusted the cables to hold.

In life I’ve had many situations where I could not see God’s ear listening to my prayer or His hand holding the future. But He was there.

An abnormality showed on my lungs. I’d had horrible bronchitis for many weeks. The pulmonologist did all sorts of tests and prescribed two different inhalers. They were expensive and he said I’d have to take them the rest of my life because I had asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. I took one of the inhalers, but the cough and wheezing became worse.

In church I went forward for prayer more than once and prayed at home. Usually I do what the doctor orders and practice faith and works as St. James teaches. In other words, believe, pray, and do what I can for myself. We’re blessed with health care in America, and I believe it originated from God, who said in the last days before Christ’s return knowledge would be increased. Yet I knew I needed to quit the inhaler because the problem worsened. Immediately the cough and wheezing disappeared. Two other doctors told me I don’t have asthma or COPD (emphysema).

We’ve had numerous miracles like that in our family, but we lost our oldest daughter to cancer. That’s when I discovered God’s hand still holds when your worst nightmare becomes reality. He gave peace beyond understanding as His Word says.

You can’t borrow that peace in advance by dreaming up things that could happen. It’s only when you need it you can look up and notice you might be hanging over a chasm, but above the cables of God’s love hold.

The Word says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Copyright 2016 Ada Brownell


Wednesday, August 17, 2016


By Ada Brownell

The day my Aunt Marge gave her heart to Jesus, her life turned from sorrow to joy.

I was only a kid. My whole family witnessed what happened.

Aunt Marge screamed out in the church service, interrupting the pastor’s sermon. “I’m lost!”

Ever since Jesus came, people have talked about being “saved,” but before they can be saved they realize they are lost. They don’t know for sure about how to get to heaven and how to avoid hell. Most everyone would like to be saved from eternal death and receive everlasting life, but they wander about devising their own ideas about the right way to go.

Well Marge knew the way, but she realized she’d strayed. She ran to the altar and screamed and cried, asking God to forgive her sins and save her.

My siblings and I watched wide-eyed. My Mama and several people went forward to pray with her. Suddenly the joy hit. She started shouting praises to God and danced all around the church sanctuary.

She was probably in her 30s then and joy became part of who she was. As a senior citizen she danced in my kitchen one time when she and her son visited. Before they left, she danced in a little circle and sang “The Lord bless you and keep you.”

Our family never forgot what we saw, nor how we witnessed her turning from sin and living joyfully for God, often winning others to Him. The first thing she did when she went to assisted living near the end of her life was win her nurse to the Lord. Her joy was catching!

Joy still bubbled, even in times of trouble, until she was in her 90s and went dancing off into heaven.

Her experience reminds of the day a lame beggar asked Peter and John for alms. The event occurred shortly after the day of Pentecost when the Holy Ghost was poured out on the 120 in the Upper Room.

“Silver and gold have I none,” Peter said to lame beggar. “But such as I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.”

Peter took him by the right hand and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. “So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them—walking, leaping and praising God” (Acts 2:6-8).

King David danced before the Lord with all his might as they brought the ark back to Israel (See 2 Samuel 6:14).

I’ve seen numerous people dance before the Lord. Most were healed or had a significant encounter with God. I’ve never danced, although my inner spirit usually dances with others when God does a work in them and tears of joy flow down my face.

I have a character in my latest book, Polly, who dances when she’s filled with joy. Readers get to know Polly well. Here’s what Deirdre Lockhart at Brilliant Cut Editing, one of my editors, said about Polly: “By the way, I want Polly to live near me. Not just for the food, which made my mouth water, but she made my spirit sing too. I feel my absolute faith a little stronger after living with her and Abe this week.”

The Bible often speaks of followers of Jesus Christ being filled with joy.

“Joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8).

The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, faithfulness, self control (Galatians 5:22).

The theme of Paul’s letter to the Philippians is “rejoice!” Even in the Old Testament we find many references to joy.  Let God fill up your joy tank, and express your joy  so others will know. If necessary, dance.
Here's an  excerpt from Peach Blossom Rancher showing Polly in a moment of joy.

Polly put her hands on Wellington Davenport's already bowed head and in a loud voice quoted scripture on God’s mercy, forgiveness, and love for the sinner. Then she got happy and shouted, sang and danced all over the parlor. Wellington stared, his face twitching. She pulled him to his feet again, his cold hand trembling in hers. He seemed sober now.
     He squeezed her hand. “Thank you. But you’re right. I’m a lowdown useless worm. Keep praying for me.”
     With that, he was gone, his horse galloping as if the devil himself chased him.
Buy Peach Blossom Rancher at 
See all Ada's books on Ada Brownell's Amazon author page:

Thursday, August 11, 2016


By Ada Brownell

You'd think because I have a couple of Western novels on Amazon I’d be an experienced cowgirl.

I have ridden a few ponies in my younger years. But the animals knew and I knew I was a tenderfoot.

Cindy, the horse I rode as a kid, probably picked that up the first time I climbed up on her back. I probably only weighed about 75 pounds, but I rode her bareback and that was the only way to go because I bounced with every step she took. I used a saddle a time or two, but discovered landing on the fat horse was better than the hard saddle.

Cindy didn’t belong to our parents. My aunt and uncle boarded her and their beautiful buckskin in our pasture. Joe, my brother, and I were allowed to ride them. Joe did all of the work, put on the bridles and I think helped me make it from the cellar roof to the horse’s back.

One time, though, Joe took off riding the Buckskin and I hadn’t mounted yet. I stood beside Cindy a moment too long and she stepped on my foot. Not a soul stood within ear shot to hear my yelling. I beat on Cindy’s big white belly and screamed, “Get off! Get off! Get off!”

The hoof never moved. A riding horse can weigh from 800 to more than 1,000 pounds. I nearly panicked and then wisdom popped into my brain. I bent over, ran my hand down Cindy’s leg and pulled on a tuft of hair right above the hoof, as I’d seen Joe do. Cindy lifted it, and I was free. Praise the Lord—no broken bones in my foot.

I let a horse step on the foot of a 12-year-old boy, Stuart Ripley O’Casey, in my latest book, Peach Blossom Rancher, the sequel to The Lady Fugitive. Of course he did what I did to lift the hoof.

I went horseback riding with friends on different ponies and one or two of those critters bit. I had no idea horses would bite. One of them bit my horse and then aimed for my arm or leg. My friend thought it was funny and kept putting her horse’s mouth close to my side.

“Get that…” My friends occasionally used profanity and one of those words shot into my mind. That was one of the few times in my life I was tempted to cuss, but I swallowed the exclamation.

I was more mature the last time I rode a horse. I told my husband’s nephew to give me an “old nag” to ride. Well, he told me the horse he gave me was the gentlest mount he had, and he had a quite a herd of them.

The horse took off walking. Everyone else’s trotted, galloped and loped ahead of me. My animal wouldn’t go, In fact, she stopped every few steps and looked back. I kicked her sides, wiggled the reins, and “Tuk, tuk tukked,” with my tongue. She ignored me. By the time I went a short distance, everyone else headed back. I turned the horse around.

Big mistake! She took off like she had gone through the gate at Churchill Downs.

“Whoa!” I shouted and pulled on the reins.

I pulled and she tried to scrape me off under a tree. I ducked, held on, and kept pulling on the reins, screaming and yelling, “Whoa!”. In no time we returned to the barn, the animal in a sweat and panting, everyone else left behind.

“Sorry,” Max, our nephew, said. “I forgot she has a colt in the barn.”

That didn’t end my education on horses, though. As a newspaper reporter I covered horse shows. The first one I was blessed when our pastor, an expert, sat down beside me and pointed out the differences between breeds, their various capabilities, and training involved.

 I also wrote about horses during the state fair. I dug into the diet of top performing breeds. “While the horses are here can owners order a bale of hay and a side of oats?” I asked.

The Bible is full of horses, but the scripture I remember most refers to a bridle on the tongue and another says if you bridle your tongue you can control your whole body. “If anyone among you thinks he is religious but does not bridle his tongue, but deceives his own heart, that man’s religion is useless” (James 1:26 NKJ). James 3 3 uses the illustration about horses being controlled by a bridle and ships guided by a small rudder.

Although horses can be tough to tame, they could teach me more about gentleness and obedience. A fine horse is a wonder to behold. I’m glad God made them.

Dear Reader Friend:
What do peaches, an asylum, and dead bodies have to do with inspirational romance?
In the Peach Blossom Rancher these things are as important as baking powder in a cake. Baking powder might not taste so great by itself, but it adds the chemical balance that makes baked goods great.
To help you understand, here’s the Summary of Peach Blossom Rancher, an historical romance, the sequel to The Lady Fugitive, released Aug. 1:
A handsome young man inherits a ranch in ruin and a brilliant doctor is confined to an insane asylum because of one seizure. Yet their lives intersect.
John Lincoln Parks yearns for a wife to help rebuild the peach and horse ranch and he eyes Valerie MacDougal, a young widow who is an attorney. But will John marry Valerie or Edwina Jorgenson, the feisty rancher-neighbor that he constantly fusses with?  Edwina has a Peeping Tom whose boot prints are like the person’s who dumped a body in John’s barn. Will John even marry, or will he be hanged for the murder? Is it possible for the young doctor to be released from the asylum?
Available now on Amazon Elk Lake Publishing says you will be able to buy paperbacks on Amazon and order it from bookstores, probably by Aug 12.
I think you will enjoy Peach Blossom Rancher, and love the characters. The story is entwined in suspense, humor, and a great historical experience that has roots in my background covering the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo, as well as growing up in peach country in Colorado.
Then there’s the inspirational side. One of my  editors, Deirdre Lockhart of Brilliant Cut Editing said, “By the way, I want Polly to live near me. Not just for the food, which made my mouth water, but she made my spirit sing too. I feel my absolute faith a little stronger after living with her and Abe this week.”

The novel enjoyed by teens through adults, Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult, is free August 11-14. Get it here

Monday, August 8, 2016


Write What You Know (God’s Calling You to Write)

By Julie Arduini

            When I first visited the Adirondack village of Speculator, New York in 1994, I immediately imagined a cast full of characters and a story I thought would be fun to write. I made the heroine a young woman who worked at a senior center because at the time, I was a recent college grad working at---yep---a senior center.

            Fast forward many years and I’m not only married, but I have young children. The call to write is coming back, and I pick up that little Adirondack story. As I took classes and read books, it took many drafts, but that “what if” moment I had in Speculator eventually became ENTRUSTED. It was a “safe” book to write because so much of the heroine was me.

            Then came ENTANGLED.

            I never thought about writing past that one book. When I started seriously writing, I knew series sold better. I batted around ideas in my head, but nothing much materialized. As I wrote flash fiction pieces, ideas began to form, but I saw them more for the last book in a series, not the second. I was revising ENTRUSTED for publication and struggling with the ending. Through prayer, an idea came that neatly tied all the loose ends and gave way to the heroine and her story for book two.

            The problem was, Carla Rowling isn’t anything like me. She’s spent her adult life in Speculator Falls as the sheriff and a single mom. In ENTANGLED, she’s able to start cosmetology school. She is emotionally guarded, and although I can relate to that, the reasons why are different. Mine comes from trust issues. Carla? She can’t forgive herself for her past.

            ENTANGLED was a hard story to write. In part I believe it was a struggle because I wasn’t “writing what I know,” advice I was given as a beginner writer. Carla’s story forced me to dive deep and develop a character I couldn’t relate to. I had to do a lot of research about cosmetology. All of these things were aspects I never envisioned.

            Now that the book is out, I’m receiving reader feedback that they can relate to Carla because they are struggling with guilt and regret. Her story is helping them surrender those things and find freedom in Christ. It is enhancing their own relationships. Had I stuck with what I knew, I never would have this example to share.

            If you’re an author, do you stick with what you know, or do you branch out?

            If you’re a reader, do you like when authors develop characters much like themselves, or characters that are completely from the imagination?
Please leave a comment! We'd love to hear from you.

Entangled: Surrendering the Past

Book #2, Surrendering Time Series

Julie Arduini

“You need to leave me alone. It’s the least you can do.”

Carla Rowling has been given her dream of attending cosmetology school. The gift is so generous she feels unworthy because of choices she made as a teen. The pressure mounts as Carla juggles school, is a single mom, helps her best friend Jenna plan her wedding, spends time with boyfriend Will Marshall, and deals with the fact that her son's father is back in their lives.

Will Marshall is the one Speculator Falls resident everyone can count on. His truck deliveries are reliable. He's the first to help friends like Ben Regan with boat work or be a card partner with Bart Davis. Will's ready to settle down with Carla, loving her is natural. He's bonded with her son, Noah. But when Carla starts cosmetology school, she puts emotional distance between her and Will.

Can Carla release her past and create a future full of highlights, or, will she burn her options worse than a bad perm?

Purchase Link:

Entangled is book #2. Although it can standalone, if you’d like to read Entrusted: Surrendering the Present first, click here:


Julie Arduini loves to encourage readers to surrender the good, the bad, and ---maybe one day---the chocolate. She’s the author of the  re-release, ENTRUSTED: Surrendering the Present, as well as the sequel, ENTANGLED: Surrendering the Past. She also shared her story in the infertility devotional, A WALK IN THE VALLEY. She blogs every other Wednesday for Christians Read. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her at, where she invites readers to subscribe to her monthly newsletter full of resources and giveaway opportunities at JULIE ARDUINI: SURRENDER ISSUES AND CHOCOLATE and the weekly e mail. SUNDAY’S SURRENDER AND CHOCOLATE.

Snapchat: @juliearduini

Monthly Newsletter:

Weekly Sunday’s Surrender and Chocolate:

Surrendered Scribe Media Promotions: (Book release info sent as needed)

Tuesday, August 2, 2016


Peach Blossom Rancher, an historical romance

Sequel to The Lady Fugitive, second in Peaches and Dreams series

 By Ada Brownell


A handsome young man with a ranch in ruin and a brilliant doctor confined to an insane asylum because of one seizure. Yet their lives intersect.

John Lincoln Parks yearns for a wife to help rebuild the ranch and eyes Valerie MacDougal, a young widow who homesteaded, but also is an attorney.

Will the doctor ever be released from the asylum? Will John marry Valerie or Edwina Jorgenson, the feisty rancher-neighbor he constantantly fusses with? This neighbor has a Peeping Tom whose bootprints are like the person’s who dumped a body in John’s barn. Will John even marry, or be hanged for the murder?

Paperback available soon.

Get e-book on Amazon now at


by Ada Brownell

If you’ve never tasted a tree-ripened peach, you don’t know what you’re missing.

I grew up on the Western Slope of Colorado in Fruita, a little town near Palisade, a lovely rural area filled with orchards, mostly peach, but also pears, cherries, apricots, plums and I don’t know what else.

A tree-ripened peach is too soft to pack into a box or bushel basket and ship to stores and buyers. So today, they’re picked green. For that reason most people have never tasted the wonder of a ripe peach just pulled from the tree.

You can stand out in the orchard and pick the sun-blushed peel off the yellow fruit off without a knife and before you can get your teeth into it, sweet juice probably will run down your fingers.

Few folks bite into a peach without peeling it first. It’s not like an apple. For some reason God made peach skins fuzzy. That fuzz gives major grief to peach pickers and other workers. When you’ve picked a few bushels of peaches on a hot Colorado day, the fuzz flies around and sticks to your sweaty skin and makes you feel like you’ve been insulating houses with rock wool or spun fiberglass.

Since I was short, when I worked on a peach ranch I landed a sorting job. One of the best things about it was a peach defuzzer was connected  to the conveyor belt.

The peaches whirled over little wheels on the contraption and I watched for worm holes, split seeds (which left a hole in the end of the peach), bruises, and other blemishes. I picked them out, put them in a box by themselves and later some ambitious lady would buy them and make jam.

The amazing thing about a tree-ripened peach is you can even freeze them and they almost taste as if they just came from the orchard. For years I made my peach cobbler from frozen peaches we purchased on the Western Slope of Colorado.

When you see a peach orchard you might be amazed to notice the trees appear to have flat tops. Anyway in Palisade that’s the way they always looked. I read the trees are pruned so they dip slightly in the middle, sort of like a bowl. Pruned in that manner the branches let the sunshine into the middle of the tree as well as the sides, and the peaches inside ripen as well as those hanging on the outer branches.

When I read that I thought it’s like a group of people reaching out toward heaven allowing the Lord and the Word to shine into the depths of their being so they’ll bear great fruits of the Holy Spirit.

We’re told in scripture the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, faithfulness, self control.

If I have all those fruits, I imagine my character will be sweet as a peach. Lord, help me produce fruit in my life so that I can even be an instrument to winning someone else to Christ.

Ada Brownell

About the Author

When Ada Brownell sat down to write Peach Blossom Rancher, she drew from her experiences growing up in Colorado’s Peach Country, picking peaches and working in a packing shed.
In addition, she uses some of what she learned about mental illness covering the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo on her beat as a journalist for The Pueblo Chieftain. In her work, she received a list from the Board of Lunacy Commissioners showing supposed cause of insanity of patients admitted in 1899-1900 and 1909-1910. She uses part of that list in this book and used that information in developing some of the characters. However, in this book the mental hospital is in Boston, and everything about the asylum is fiction. The Boston asylum began innovative things with patients there to help in their recovery, treatment and well-being by adding gardening as an activity for some housed there in the early years.

The Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo eventually became one of the best treatment centers in the nation for the mentally ill.

Ada writes with Stick-to-Your-Soul Encouragement. She is the author of six other books, about 350 stories and articles in Christian publications, and she spent a large chunk of her life as a reporter, mostly for The Pueblo Chieftain.


Connect with Ada:

Amazon Ada Brownell author page:

Twitter: @AdaBrownell

To receive her newsletter, contact her at
Please comment and tell readers about your experiences with peaches.

Thursday, July 28, 2016


Now available for preorder:


By Janet K. Brown

Prejudice and mistrust hinders an ex-con, drug addict’s new beginning.

The state of Texas releases from prison Katie Smith. Full of optimism, she sets out to get a job, rent her own place, and make a home for her eight-year-old daughter, but Katie gave away her daughter three years ago. She could use a friend, but her past choices threaten to doom her to continued failure.

Larry Pullman graduated from seminary with high marks, but the fact that he has no wife makes finding a preaching job almost impossible. It doesn’t help that running from God as a teenager gave him a past that he can’t undo. All he needs is an ex-con, drug addict messing up his life, but then why did God lead him to her? Or did He?

Isn’t it enough that Lacey Chandler gave her sister’s daughter a home? Does that mean she has to clean up Katie’s messes forever?

Could Katie be not Worth Forgiving?

Tuesday, July 26, 2016



By Ada Brownell

When I completed The Lady Fugitive some important stories had not been told.

How about Jennifer Louise Parks’ friend Roberta Bellea Peabody, who had been assaulted by her employer’s son and left bruised and the sheriff would do nothing about it? This girl’s plight was mentioned in the first chapter and was one of the reasons Jenny became a fugitive. Jenny feared her physically abusive uncle who stared at her with lust in her eyes and doubted her aunt would believe her. So she ran away in the middle of the night scared of being left alone with him.

She is found in John Parks’ barn about to give birth to the rapist’s son in the first chapter of Peach Blossom Rancher. Bellea becomes a significant character.

John Parks is Jenny’s twin brother and after his uncle is murdered in The Lady Fugitive, in Book Two of The Peaches and Dreams series, he inherits the neglected peach and horse ranch. He doesn’t have much money, but he has spunk and determination.

Polly, the black cook from the first book, is a vital part of Peach Blossom Rancher and her husband, Abe, has returned after going elsewhere in an effort to make enough money for him and wife to get out on their own and away from the judge. But they enjoy working for John, so they stay and bless him and everyone else they meet. Well, except Wellington Davenport, the rapist, who finds Polly a formidable foe when he tries to get his baby for his wealthy mother to raise. But eventually Polly blesses him too.

Stuart, the young orphan who adds humor and fun to The Lady Fugitive when he latches on to Jenny and William is adopted by them and he spends the summer with John, his uncle, on the peach and horse ranch. The kid brightens up almost every scene he barges into.

Valerie MacDougal, the beautiful widow who lived on the homestead near Yucca Blossom and gave it to Jenny, sweeps into John Parks life in the second book. He walked her down the aisle during Jenny’s wedding and he can’t forget her. He’s wanting a wife and there is no one like Valerie, who also is an attorney. Valerie’s doing great things with her life, too. Living now in Boston with her parents, she writes to John, and they have an unspoken understanding. But she hasn’t cast aside her mourning clothes, although she’s joined her father’s law practice and is trying to get a doctor who had one seizure released from the state asylum.

John Parks has another problem in the second book. A neighbor gal, Edwina Jorgenson who is running her crippled father’s ranch, has had a crush on John since grade school and she makes a pest of herself. But John has to help her once in a while. A peeper is looking in her windows at night and he wears boots with a heel identical to those worn by the person who dumped a dead body in John’s barn.

You need to read Peach Blossom Rancher to see what happens.

In contrast to The Lady Fugitive, where the first daft was completed in about six weeks, Peach Blossom Rancher took nearly a year to write. Enjoy!