Thursday, October 30, 2014


By Bonnie Doran

            Ada asked me to tell a little bit about my research for Dark Biology. Here goes:

Influenza: This was the disease I used in the novel. Much of my research came from The Great Influenza by John M. Barry, which described the so-called Spanish flu during World War I. In bopping around the internet, I found a reference to a strain that scientists discovered on a Canadian farm. This became the basis of my deadly virus.

Biosafety Level  4: You can’t waltz into the CDC’s lab where scientists study the deadliest diseases. Richard Preston, a journalist, did that and described his experience in Panic In Level 4. I based my scenes on his research. That’s way more research than I ever want to do.

Cruise Ship: I had been on three cruises at the time I wrote Dark Biology, so I used my own knowledge for the novel. I also emailed the cruise line for additional information. I learned that ships have sophisticated onboard medical facilities, a morgue, and a brig.

FBI: I didn’t know who would arrest the villain on a cruise ship in international waters. Someone I met at a writers’ meeting put me in touch with a former FBI agent. I emailed him with some questions. Among other things, he told me that the FBI works with the US Navy. The villain would probably be removed from the ship to a naval destroyer. That was a fun fact to use in the novel.

Red Tie: My pastor insisted he always wore a red tie, but he wouldn’t tell me why. I looked up “red tie” on the internet. It can represent sin, blood, and sex. For my character, it became a symbol of both his adultery (think The Scarlet Letter) but also Christ’s blood that covered it.

Defibrillator: I was embarrassed that my editor had to correct me on this one. Many television shows and movies get this wrong. Note to self: Don’t use media as a basis for research. My editor pointed me to a blog,, and a post entitled “If you shock a flatline, I swear I will come to your home and beat you with a wet chicken.” I rewrote the scene and it came out more suspenseful than my original version.  

Space: By far, the biggest challenge in my research for Dark Biology was finding information on the space program. Internet searches can only go so far. I needed an expert. Someone on ACFW’s email loop told me to contact Austin Boyd, a novelist and former astronaut candidate. He was kind enough to read through my manuscript and tell me the way NASA would handle situations.

Thanks for hosting me, Ada.


Blurb: Renowned vaccinologist "Hildi" Hildebrandt has set her sights on beating her brother to a Nobel Prize, and the opportunity to conduct experiments on the International Space Station might just provide the means to obtain that goal. Chet Hildebrandt should have had that opportunity. But now he'll teach a lesson to them all: his hot-shot astronaut sister, his philandering hypocritical father, and the CDC for not properly appreciating his work. One vial of a virus purloined from the CDC labs and released at his father's marriage seminar should do the trick, without hurting anybody. After all, it's only a mild influenza strain...Or is it?


Bonnie Doran’s heart is in science fiction. Besides writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, and Sudoku puzzles. Her husband of thirty-one years is a Mad Scientist who owns a 2,300-pound electromagnet. They share their Colorado home with two Siamese cats. Her science thriller, Dark Biology, released October 25, 2013, from Harbourlight (Pelican Book Group).


Pelican Book Group:


Barnes and Noble:

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Malicious Mischief by Lora Young

Photo: Missouri State Parks, Katy Trail

By Lora Young

My husband and I love to ride our tadpole recumbents on the Katy Trail in Missouri—the longest rails-to-trails in the nation. The trail head in New Franklin tells the story of Joseph Kinney, a steamship company owner, who had built a thriving business transporting goods and passengers up and down the Missouri River.
When the Missouri, Kansas, & Texas Railway (nicknamed The Katy) came through in the early 1870s, he saw it as a threat to his business and his way of life. He wrote scathing editorials to area newspapers decrying the evils of the railroads.
I saw in this…a story. A steamship owner’s strong-willed daughter falling in love with a railroad man. Voila! (Still not quite sure how it turned into a mystery. All my stories seem to do that.)
The hardest part of writing this story was the research. The MK&T Railroad no longer exists. Missouri Pacific (now part of Union Pacific) purchased the MK&T in the late 1980s. Nostalgia has kept more recent history alive, but there aren’t many stories from the late 1800s.
Sometimes when I write, a character will surprise me. In this story, it was Roy Willis, the station master. I had great fun coming up with new ways for him to irritate Endy (the hero). And watching Endy deal with Roy’s annoying chatter…loved it!
One of the other surprises for me was that Delia achieved one of her dreams in spite of my best efforts to disappoint her. I had every intention of her never becoming a teacher, but she was one determined gal. The way she accomplished it turned out perfectly!
This story was a delight to write. I certainly hope readers will enjoy it too!

Book Description: Delia Eastman returns home from teachers’ college with two goals: find a teaching position and sidestep her mother’s insistence on finding her a husband. But employers don’t care for women who are smarter than they. Neither do suitors. As she struggles to find her place, she discovers her sleepy riverboat town has turned into a powder-keg of rivalry between the steamships and the railroads.
Increasingly violent vandalism on the railroad brings her face-to-face with Endy Webster, a handsome trainmaster whose investigation into the crimes leads him to the door of a prominent steamship owner—Delia’s  father.
As Delia tries to clear her father’s name, she keeps tangling with Endy. He’s intelligent. He’s charming. And he’s guarding secrets. Thinking he might know more than he’s telling, Delia reluctantly agrees to collaborate with him to solve the crimes. With the vandalism becoming deadly, they’ll need every scrap of intelligence and logic to stay alive. Working together may not be their first choice, but it might be their last.

Malicious Mischief is available in print and e-book formats on Amazon.
Connect with Lora on: Website, Facebook, or Twitter

Lora Young has never lived outside the state of Missouri. She grew up reading the Little House books and Trixie Belden mysteries, so it makes sense that her first novel would be an historical mystery set in Missouri.
Lora lives in rural Platte County with her husband, four cats, and the constant interruption of her children and grandchildren. She enjoys riding her tadpole recumbent, ballroom dancing, and making stuff up.
She is a member of the Kansas City West chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers.

Saturday, October 25, 2014


A Parental Vision

By Sarah Hamaker

With four kids between the ages of 6 and 12, I’m often asked how I do it, which usually means how do I weather the noise, chaos, fighting, and general melee that comes from having multiple children living under the same roof. Most people view my typical answer of, “Oh, it’s all good,” with disbelief, sure that I am hiding my shame at having unruly, sibling-hating kids.

Don’t get me wrong—my children are perfectly capable of behaving like little monsters in league with the devil on any given day. They do strange, weird, outlandish things for no other reason than it popped into their little brains. I’ve been called by the assistant principal, had to remove screaming kids from the grocery store, and had to enforce a no-playing rule with neighbor children because of my child’s bad behavior. My life as a mother isn’t a Disney movie, that’s for sure.

But—and this is a huge but—nor is my life as a mom something for which I dread getting up in the mornings. I enjoy my kids. I love my kids. I laugh with my kids (and sometimes, alone with my husband, at some of the crazy things they’ve done). I shake my head at their antics. I correct them when they stray. I leave them to their own devices more than I play with them. I curb their electronic consumption to the point of near non-existence.

What helps me keep up with the discipline and guidance is thinking about just what I’m doing. I’m not raising kids—I’m raising adults. For a child is only a child for a short period of time, but he’s an adult for the rest of his life. If we as parents thought more about who would our child be at age 30, I suspect our child rearing would look somewhat differently.

How would you describe your children as full grown adults? Would you focus on where they went to college or their career choices? Where they live or what they drive? How you answer that question tells a lot about your parenting vision for your children.

Most of us would probably describe someone who was kind and honest, willing to lend a hand to others, compassionate, thoughtful, responsible, respectful, godly and loving. This list doesn’t talk about achievements or status symbols that proclaim a person’s “place” in this world. This list instead drills down to the characteristics of what makes a man or woman underneath the outer trappings.

If what you really want for your children is for them to develop good character, then that will change how you raise them. Write down a short list of characteristics you want each of your children to have as adults and post it where you can reference it regularly. Think about the list in light of your parenting decisions today. Make sure the things you encourage your children to accomplish or spend time on build toward that vision you have for them as adults. Your parenting decisions about discipline and consequences—virtually anything related to raising kids—should be framed with that vision in mind.

A clear vision for your children as adults will make the hard parenting lessons of today easier to put into place. In other words, taking the long view of raising kids will help you in the short term. Having a vision for your kids and keeping that vision in mind as you parent will get you over both the rough and smooth patches of child-rearing.

Sarah Hamaker Bio
As a certified Leadership Parenting Coach™, Sarah Hamaker guides parents in identifying,, and is a frequent writer on parenting issues for She’s also one of the featured parent coaches on Her book Ending Sibling Rivalry: Moving Your Kids From War to Peace (Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City) is in stores now.
discussing and correcting bad parenting habits. Sarah blogs about parenting on her website,

SUMMARY: Ending Sibling Rivalry
Is your day punctuated by tattling, tears, and testiness among your children? Does your home resemble a war zone, with fights breaking out constantly among combative siblings? Do you wonder why your kids can’t get along? You’re not alone. Sibling rivalry has become one of the most frustrating problems facing today’s parents.

Yet sibling rivalry is not an inevitable outcome. It is possible to help your children move from enemies to friends. In Ending Sibling Rivalry, Sarah Hamaker provides common sense and practical solutions to this familiar problem, guiding parents through the roots and remedies of sibling rivalry.

Ending Sibling Rivalry addresses the harmful impact of competition on the sibling relationship, how to avoid the trap of favoritism and comparison, and how to teach children conflict resolution. Whether your children are toddlers or teenagers, Ending Sibling Rivalry provides the blueprint for reducing sibling conflict and building a more loving relationship between or among your children.

Amazon link:

Thursday, October 23, 2014


By Ada Brownell

Two miles high—the nosebleed section of America—Leadville, Colo.

When we moved there it was probably our 15th move. My husband was a telegrapher for the Rio Grande Railroad and he kept getting "bumped.".

Our beautiful almost-new mobile home arrived in Leadville during a snow storm. Even covered with mud, it was a wonderful sight. We’d been “batching” in a railroad house in Malta, about 5 miles away, with no running water and almost no furniture until we could hire the mover to bring the home to Leadville.

I enjoyed the Leadville church, started by a couple of young girls in the Silver King era of the late 19th Century. So much wickedness gripped the city in that era, the two young women reached out to children at first, and then discovered they pioneered a church. That was decades before we attended there.

One of the first things I noticed about the building were crutches on the wall.

“Why are those there?” I asked the pastor.

“Oh, that’s from the soldier boy who was healed and he didn’t need them anymore.”

Leadville was only a few miles from Camp Hale, a large Army post, which now is closed.

Our moves required me to leave my Sunday school in Thompson, Utah, and at first I grieved for the children. The town, population 100, had three bars and no church until the Lord moved on my heart and brought me helper to start a Sunday school in the schoolhouse. That was left behind..

In a short time after we arrived in Leadville, I became the high school class teacher. I’d been youth president in my home church a couple of years before we moved away. I loved youth and devoted my energies into that high school class with four or five students.

Because money was tight and I knew a little about writing news, I went to work as a reporter for The Leadville Herald-Democrat.

In only a little while, however, my husband’s job took him to Texas Creek during the week. My mother-in- law lived with us, and she took care of Carolyn who was age 3, and our oldest , Gary, who was in kindergarten.

I learned early God allows things in our lives that help us grow emotionally and spiritually. The fan on our furnace kept quitting. My husband showed me before he left how to take it out, get it running and then screw everything back together. Sometimes I had to do it several times a day and the only thing I couId do to keep the house warm was be patient.

Then in the middle of the night my mother in law used the bathroom.  I woke to a sucking sound. I’d taken a bath before bed and forgot to turn the water back on to keep it from freezing. The heat tape over our pipes was too short.

So I waited until my mother-in-law slept again. I didn’t want asked every hour of the day if the water was running. I threw a fake fur coat over my nightgown, stuck bare feet into boots, and picked up a fusee and matches. Snow was so deep I had to make a tunnel to crawl under the mobile home.

I got my matches wet. I went in reverse, shoveling snow with my back side, gingerly climbed the steps, grabbed the knob and my bare hand stuck to the frost on it. My brother taught flesh sticks to cold metal, so I pulled on the door instead of trying to get my hand loose.

My warm hand thawed the frost, but the door didn’t move. Deep snow from the roof melted a little. Water ran down and froze the door shut. I rang the doorbell over and over until my mother-in-law came and pushed while I pulled.

Finally inside, I dressed in ski pants, sweaters, gloves, heavy socks, boots and kept my matches dry when I tried the fusee again. Soon the water ran freely inside and the pipes hadn’t broken. The next day I was told it was 35 degrees below zero in the night.

I learned, Think before you act. 

I’m glad the Lord is patient, and even helps us when we’re stupid!

On the mountain, we had other trying times. But there I continued to write for Christian publications, and my experience at The Herald Democrat helped me launch a career as a journalist.  When we moved again, The Pueblo Chieftain hired me.

The Holy Spirit guides and leads. I often didn’t have a clue how today changes our future, but when I am yoked with Him, I have nothing to fear.

©Ada Brownell 2014

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


NOTE FROM CAROL MCCLAIN: I will have a give away--a ten dollar gift card from Barnes and Noble or Amazon, depending on the winner's choice. In theory, the winner can buy the book and a little something else, but no strings attached.

Be sure to leave a comment at the end of this post!

By Carol McClain
I am Carol, and I am dreamer.
More than anything else, I dream. As a child, I'd invent games, make my friends play. I'd create plays and force our parents to pay to endure them. I'd dream I was a character on one of my favorite TV shows and tell myself long stories. When I was eight, I decided to make my daydream a novel. Not a short story, mind you—a novel.
As a teen, I wrote angst-filled poems and read the Russian authors—oh what a morbid child I was. My school never offered any writing direction, and I never knew how to be inspired or how to construct a story. College didn't help.
If one thing blocked my writing, aside from my myriad distraction, it was devising plots.
And thus I am the proverbial seat-of-the-pants writer. Generally, something in the news or my life will trigger a thought. I'll have the basic conflict, and know the end, and then I write and modify as I go. It's all very structured whims, and the beginning and the ends usually change.
That's much of what happened with my debut novel DWF: Divorced White Female. I met my husband online later in life. I imagined what online dating would be like with a crazy family. I found characters who intrigued me and made the serious funny.
DWF:Divorced White Female
            Sassy and unsaved and ditched by a philandering husband, Cheryl Chandler knows only one thing will save her, a man, any man, so long as he's hot.
Finding love in rural New York proves a daunting challenge. Should she find her dreamboat, he must meet her quirky teens whose eccentricities range from New Age ideology, to OCD, to religious fanaticism. And, of course, she can't hide her toddler—her husband’s parting gift. What man would love her and accept them?
Her kids have the solution—online dating.
Here she meets two men. Religious fanatic, Tarrant, charms her, but is too pious.
And mysterious Carleton who’s everything her desperation desires.
However, nothing is as it seems, not even her desires.
You can find DWF:Divorced White Female wherever ebooks are sold as well as at

None of my work would be complete without themes dear to my heart. The first is always the redemption—physical, spiritual, emotional—of broken lives.
DWF also explores the true nature of faith, and the concept that sin is sin—no matter who you are or what you believe.

Diverse. If one word can describe Carol McClain, it's diverse and had been long before diversity became such a pc buzz word. She's a novelist and essayist from northern New York—so far north, she's almost Canadian. Eh?
She plays the bassoon, creates stained glass, cross-country skis, and is an erstwhile marathoner and high ropes instructor. A former English teacher, she now teaches adult Bible studies and edits for fun.
In addition to this, she has served on the North Country Habitat for Humanity board for over ten years. In that capacity, she's held every position except those having to do with money. She may be able to tell you the definitions sesquipedalian, but simple addition baffles her.

She is course coordinator for ACFW. And of course, she writes.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


            Properly Equipped

            By Ada Brownell

“Do you see any truly competent workers? They will serve kings
rather than ordinary people” (Proverbs 22:29. NLT).

I lay on the bed feeling like a wounded bird. I flew away from my job as a daily newspaper reporter at The Pueblo Chieftain years before, excited to be a stay-at-home mom again and spend more time free lance writing. But 15 years later, reality set in.
When I quit working, I thought I could earn significant cash with my writing as well as fulfilling my call to ministry. But we added three more children to the family, and four of the five needed money for college. Our oldest son already graduated.
The previous year, I sold almost everything I wrote: Fifteen book reviews to The Denver Post; 12 articles to The Pentecostal Evangel; puzzles and fiction to Sunday school papers; articles to Christian education and ministers’ magazines; features to other publications.  I received royalties on a book sold to the Assemblies of God.
In all, I received about $600 that year. Book reviews sold for $15; puzzles, fiction, features, interviews and other articles $5 to $35. Although the book eventually sold more than 7,000 copies, book royalty was 12 ½ cents each. Our children weren’t going to Christian colleges on that.
My husband worked two jobs when our oldest son went to Evangel University. A railroader, Les took a pay cut when we moved back to Pueblo, Colo., to a day job after working nights and evenings in Denver for 15 years.
I took a pile of notebooks that contained tear sheets from my published articles and stories and spread them before an editor. I'd work for that newspaper about three years in the 1960s . The editor was impressed, but frowned. “You need a degree to work now.”
I had nine English credits from the University of Colorado. When reality took me down, God took notice of this sparrow and gave hope. I dried my tears and enrolled at the University of Southern Colorado, now Colorado State University at Pueblo. The school loans I took out helped two kids who already were in college. I received 3 credits for work experience. In two and a half years (no summers), by taking 22 and 24 credits a semester, I earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communications.
James wrote in the Bible (James 2:17) that faith without works is dead, so while I was in school I accepted an internship in Lifestyle; buried my pride and accepted an evening job as copy clerk--the newsroom gopher in charge of obits and births.
I graduated with distinction, but the morning newspaper The Star-Journal, folded that month. Yet, the executive editor at The Pueblo Chieftain, the evening paper, created a reporting position for me. I wrote news 17 years, 14 of them after I earned my degree, and all those children went to Christian colleges.
            When I needed a job, God saw my need, and helped me find a way to prepare for the employment He would provide. He not only cares for the sparrows; He cares for me and you.

Monday, October 13, 2014


Yesterday, Oct. 12, The Lady Fugitive became available for the first time in large print paperback.

 On Sept. 30 when I celebrated the release of The Lady Fugitive by giving my other four books away free, The Lady Fugitive jumped to #44 in paid Kindle Store Christian and #46 in Books>Christian>Western. Later that day it jumped to a rank of #33 in Paid.Kindle Store> Western >Christian and #34 in >Christian Books and Bibles >Literature & Fiction >Westerns.

Among my free books was Swallowed by Life: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal, which jumped to #1 in Kindle Store>Kindle ebooks >Religion & Spirituality > Christian >Bible Study and Reference...>Guides and stayed there even for a while after the sale was over.

Imagine the Future You was #2 in Kindle Store > Kindle ebook >Religion and Spirituality > Bible Study >Guides and #2 in Kindle Store > Kindle ebooks > Religion and Spirituality ...>Parenting >Morals and Responsibility.

Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult was #19 in Kindle Store ... Literature and Fiction> ...>Christian >Mystery and Suspense.

Confessions of a Pentecostal was #9 in Kindle Store...>Religion and Spirituality >...Christian Living > Inspirational and #12 in Kindle Store >Kindle Short Reads > Religion and Spirituality.

 Thanks to everyone who bought or downloaded my books! -- Ada Brownell


Here are excerpts and comments from reviews for The Lady Fugitive posted on Amazon. Most are five star.  You can purchase the book on my Amazon Author page:

I loved this book, it has something for everyone, romance, danger, intrigue, laughter, the characters are written well and they face their individual demons while helping others with theirs. Don't miss this book by the talented Ada Brownell.

From author Cheri Stalwell:

From Marilyn:

I love the characters throughout this book, some four legged. I enjoyed the dialogue and would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading Christian Historical fiction Romance

on September 8, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
An Entertaining and enjoyable story touching on abuse, and humor. Plenty of action with twists and turns, mystery, suspense, new friendships, faith, forgiveness, romance and learning to trust. I loved the characters and how the author wove their lives together. I love historical western fiction. This story takes place in 1908

Ada Brownell is a talented author and I loved having to chance to read The Lady Fugitive. A great book.

on August 31, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I loved this book set in the old west. It was so well written and pulled me in from the start. I loved Jennie and William. Jennie is running from her abusive Uncle and how she does is so awesome. I do not like to give anything away so you must read this yourself to find out what happens..

For those who want a fast paced Christian romance with lots of conflict, this book provides all you could hope for. The leading lady presents many contrasts within her character. She is petite yet can yield the power of a man since she knows how to use a gun for her protection.

The bad characters are bad, but at least one shows the power of God to redeem. 

on August 17, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
The Lady Fugitive by Ada Brownell is an entertaining and exciting novel set in the “later” Old West (1908). I loved the characters and their interaction with one another and the way the author wove the paths of the different characters together. It kept my interest and the ending, or rather, an event that led up to the ending, definitely surprised me!
on August 14, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
As soon as I read the first few sentences of Lady Fugitive by Ada Brownell, I was hooked! And it only got better from there