Category Archives: Guest Post

She Chose the War Path

from my post over at https://cowboykisses.blogspot.comdahteste

Sometimes when I do research, I discover fascinating individuals who led gloriously exciting lives and then retired in peace, children and grandchildren sitting at their feet. The happily ever after. The ending we’d all like. Truth is, though, sometimes a hero has her moment early on and from there it’s not a very pretty spiral downward.

This is my impression of the life of Apache warrior woman Dahteste (pronounced ta-DOT-say).

Born around 1860 she chose her path as a warrior. The Apache let you do that. A fairly open-minded society, you could be a warrior, a homemaker, a medicine man, whatever, as long as you worked at it and could deliver. Dahteste was known for her beauty, but she was also clearly respected for her fighting, riding, hunting, and shooting skills. She was fast and she was mean. No man challenged her light-heartedly. And she proved her worth repeatedly on raids with the Apache. In fact, she rode with Cochise (you might remember him. He led an uprising against the U.S. government that started in 1861 and didn’t end until ’72). Remarkably, Dahteste was barely a teenager! Her fighting didn’t end, however, with Cochise’s acceptance of a peace treaty. She continued it by riding with Geronimo. Who knows how many “white-eyes” lost their lives to her rifle?

Geronimo surrendered in 1886. Dahteste over the years had picked up quite a bit of English, had even served as a cavalry scout for a time, so she negotiated the great chief’s surrender. Her reward? She was arrested and shipped to a prison in Florida where she stayed for eight years. Then she was moved to the military prison at Fort Sill, OK where she was a guest for nineteen years. During her time as a resident of the US Army’s military prison system, she survived pneumonia and tuberculosis. I suspect she survived much more than that.

During this time she divorced her husband Ahnandia (one of Geronimo’s original warriors) and within a few years married fellow inmate and former Army scout Coonie. The couple was released in 1919 and moved to the Mescalero Apache Reservation in New Mexico.

Dahteste, reports say, never spoke English again and wore only beautiful beaded native clothing. She left her long black hair down and unbraided, but always brushed. She was a proud Apache woman who walked with her chin up.

Though she did, indeed, retire with children and grandchildren around her feet, none of them were hers by blood, and she was not generally known to smile much. I hope she spent her final years enjoying peace and happiness, but I don’t get that sense. I think Dahteste was a survivor and she did so with more grim determination than optimism.


Unraveled by Jo Huddleston #BookGiveaway #LadiesinDefiance

Alice loses herself in grief and can’t find her way back.

In 1954, twenty-six- year-old Alice Patterson undergoes a pregnancy loss that affects everything and everyone she touches. Emotionally and physically drained, she must come to terms with her traumatic loss or risk losing her husband, her best friend, and her sanity.

Her best friend JayNell and her husband Paul offer Alice support and comfort. She persists in her grieving, which hinders her healing. The doctor advises there is no normal recovery period for what Alice has undergone. Time is her best ally.

In her small southern Mississippi town, her church Sewing Circle’s new project triggers an unsettling setback to Alice’s recovery. Afterward, she succumbs to suspicions of Paul’s infidelity that causes her collapse, from which she may not recover.

Paul’s unspoken goal is that they will recapture the love they held for one another on their wedding day. He’s hopeful that the approaching spring season will bring a reawakening of the Alice he married, as it brings a newness to all living things.

About the Author

Jo Huddleston is a multi-published author who writes novels inspired by her fascination with the 1950s and her love of her native American South. Novels in her endearing Caney Creek series, her West Virginia Mountains series, as well as her stand-alone release, Tidewater Summer, are sweet Southern romance novels. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the Literary Hall of Fame at Lincoln Memorial University (TN). Visit Jo at her website ( where you can sign up for her mailing list and read the first chapters of her novels and novellas.

Book’s Purchase Link:

Links to Huddleston Online:

Website and blog (Read novel first chapters here):

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Inspirational blog:

BookBub Profile:


Chapter 1

Tuesday, March 2, 1954—Talasia, Mississippi

Alice Patterson bolted upright in the bed and listened for what had awakened her. She heard nothing out of the ordinary. Only the hushed, even snores from her husband Paul’s side of the bed. The black hole in her recurring nightmares must have invaded her subliminal mind—again. She had awakened before she sank into its depths. Paul still slept. Obviously, she hadn’t screamed out this time.

She eased from beneath the covers, pushed her feet into house slippers, and grabbed her pink terry cloth robe lying across the foot of the bed. After stepping into the hall and pulling the door shut, she stuffed her arms into her robe and tied the sash around her waist. She knew her house, even in the night, and walked to the darkened bedroom next to hers and Paul’s.

Pale light from the street lamp outside huddled beyond the curtains covering the lone window. Standing in the middle of the room, she peered toward the baby bed, then her gaze focused on the rocking chair with the golden cushions padding its back and seat. She went to the small chest placed against the wall across the room and opened the music box sitting atop it. The tiny box played its shrill rendition of “Brahms’ Lullaby.”

Alice sat in the rocking chair and idly moved it with one foot grazing the hardwood floor, her arms empty. She remained there even after the music box played its last note. Blinding light burst from the hall and pierced the darkness of the room to reveal the baby bed. Empty.

Paul’s voice reached her through the night. “You all right?”

Would she ever be all right again? She turned toward the open door where her husband’s silhouette stood in dark contrast to the brightness behind him. “I couldn’t sleep.”

“It’ll be daylight soon. Come on back to bed. If you can’t sleep, at least you can rest your body. You need to conserve your energy to help regain your strength.”

Paul repeated what Dr. Stallings had told her before he released her from the hospital ten days ago. But what did she need her strength for? She no longer carried the baby they’d both dreamed of. Her body was now empty like her arms and the baby bed.

The Giveaway

The winner will receive Unraveled courtesy of the author. This giveaway is open internationally to anyone that can receive an e-book. Enter through the Rafflecopter link below:

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A winner will be selected on July 11, 2017.

Book Excerpt & #GIVEAWAY from One Man’s Shadow (The McCabes Book 2) by Brad Dennison #LadiesinDefiance

A big thank you to Brad Dennison for sharing a book excerpt about his strong heroine Bree McCabe from One Man’s Shadow, and also offering an incredible giveaway to my readers! Thanks Brad!!!

Please check out the other giveaways going on at my site ———————————->

She rode at first aimlessly through the pine forest that covered the ridge on the western side of the valley, and then got a hankering to visit Jack. So she turned her horse down toward the pass and the small trail that cut through it, and came out behind Hunter’s. She rode toward the jail, and swung out of the saddle. There was no hitching rail yet, so she left the horse ground hitched – which is to say with the rein trailing – and stepped in.

She found the place empty. Both bunks were in disarray. One of the cowhands working for the Circle M had told her a friend of Jack’s from school had come west and Jack had hired him on as a deputy. Apparently he was as inept as housekeeping as Jack was.

She saw a Winchester leaning in a corner and picked it up. It was one of the rifles from the ranch. She thought maybe when the boys got back from the roundup she would ask Josh to build him a gun rack. Josh was not a finished carpenter, but she thought he could put together a reasonably functional rifle rack. Bree had seen the town marshal’s office in Bozeman once, and he had a rack filled with rifles.

She heard footsteps at the door and turned expecting it to be Jack, or maybe his deputy friend. But this man looked like no one who would belong at Harvard. He looked like he had been on the trail a long time. He was a little taller than Jack, and his shirt was darkened from one sweat stain on top of another. His face had a bushy beard, and his hair was long and stringy. He wore a battered looking sombrero, and one eye was milky white with a long scar that ran from above his brow to his cheekbone.

“Anything I can do for you?” she said.

He grinned. But it was not a pleasant one. She was reminded of a cat about to pounce on a mouse.

“Yeah, missy. You can come with me.”

“And what, on Earth, would make you think I would want to go with you?”

“I been watching your house for a while. I trailed you into town. I’m to fetch you and bring you back. Then when your Pa comes to get you, we’ll be waitin’ for him.”

“You’re dreaming if you think I’m going anywhere with you.”

His grin got wider. “Don’t make it hard on yourself.”

He began walking toward her, and reached a hand to her. “Why don’t you just give me that there gun.”

She realized she was still holding the rifle. She had to think quickly. He was too close, and approaching too quickly, for her to jack a cartridge into the chamber and have any hopes of getting off a shot. She didn’t really want to kill anyone, anyway.

She had to think quickly. Pa had never actually trained her the way he had Josh and Jack, but she had watched him train them. And he had given her a lot of advice on how to survive, as well as showing her how to shoot and ride.

This man had only one eye that worked. She quickly lunged forward, driving the muzzle of the rifle into the other eye. She didn’t hit the eye but caught his brow, but it was enough.

“Hey!” he called out, pulling back and away, squinting his eye shut and reaching up with one hand.

She then swung upward with the rife stock, catching him in the groin. His eyes widened and he went down on one knee. She then jammed the muzzle of the gun into his ear.

He yelped and folded downward to the floor, one hand covering his ear and the other at his eye. Blood was seeping through his fingers from the gash above his eye. His knees were locked tight.

She pulled the pistol from his holster and set it on the desk, then jacked a round into the chamber.

“All right, get into the cell,” she said. “The back room.”

He got to his knees, then pushed himself to his feet. He was wiping blood away from the gash over his one good eye, and with the other hand still hanging onto his ear.

He turned to make a break for the door, but she fired and a section of wood at the doorway tore up and splintered, and he jumped back. She jacked the gun again, and made certain she was back far enough that he couldn’t lunge at her.

She said, “Get in that cell, or the next one takes out the one good eye you have left. Your choice.”

He stared at her a minute, then turned and walked into the cell. She shut the door, and slid into place the two-by-four Jack used as a bar. The man with the white eye wasn’t getting out.

Jack came running, bursting through the door. Another man about his age was behind him, and wearing a tin star. Must be his friend from back east.

“I heard the gunshot,” Jack said. “We were over at Hunter’s.”

“A man was here, threatening to kidnap me. I arrested him.”

Jack looked through the window into the cell. “White-Eye?”

White-Eye said, “I need me a doctor. That wildcat out there near killed me.”

Jack looked at her with amazement. “You arrested White-Eye?”

She gave him a smug smile. “I am a McCabe.”


First in the best-selling series, THE McCABES. The story of a family building a ranch in the rugged wilderness of post Civil War Montana, and of a young man seeking his family and his destiny. If you liked the movie OPEN RANGE or the TV shows BIG VALLEY and LANCER, or the novels of Louis L’Amour and Ralph Compton, then this might be for you.


Sequel to THE LONG TRAIL. Jack McCabe returns home to Montana from medical school, but the family finds he is not exactly who they thought he was. A story of one man attempting to find himself while living in the shadow of a father who is a living legend. And an old enemy of Johnny McCabe returns, looking for blood. A story of family, love and revenge, and of the redemption of the human spirit.

You can find Brad at his website here or join him on Facebook

The Giveaway

One lucky winner will receive e-copies of both The Long Trail and One Man’s Shadow and this giveaway is open internationally. The giveaway will run through 2/14/17. Enter through the Rafflecopter link below:

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Southern Writers Magazine (January 2017) and Lil’ old Me! #LadiesinDefiance


So happy and so honored to be featured at Southern Writers Magazine! Here’s a little sneak peek at my article and you can learn a whole lot more about me and the inner workings in my addled brain.


Please check out and think about subscribing too. This is a quality magazine that was a PLEASURE to work with and I appreciate them featuring a lil’ old Southern gal like me.  🙂

A Mighty Fortress by Faith Blum Guest Post and #Giveaway

faith-blumWhen I was asked to guest post on Heather’s blog and to write about a lady in defiance, I wasn’t sure what to write, so I went to the trusty website to look up the definitions of defiance. Here’s what I found:

  1. a daring or bold resistance to authority or to any opposing force.
  2. open disregard; contempt (often followed by of): defiance of danger; His refusal amounted to defiance.
  3. a challenge to meet in combat or in a contest.

I guess I don’t really fit either definition completely, but the first one fits a little better. I daringly and boldly resist any opposing force in certain ways, but three come to mind as the most daring and bold.

The first one would be in my defense and stand for Jesus Christ. I am a conservative Christian with very strong beliefs about what the Bible teaches. There are some things that I’m not 100% set on and others that I definitely do not fully understand. But the rest of what I believe to be true will be boldly fought for against any opposing force unless it will ruin a relationship or give me a bad reputation in some way. I firmly hold to the belief of speaking the truth in love. If truth can’t be spoken in love, you should wait to speak that truth until you can do it in a loving manner.

The second way I defy the status quo is much more controversial. Just as a note, this is a personal belief and I will not judge or condemn those who believe something different. I am a stay-at-home daughter and Lord willing, will be until the day I get married, if I get married. As a stay-at-home daughter, I help around the house in various ways, support myself with my writing, and serve in the church. All while being under the protection of my father. I am blessed to have a supportive family who allows me and my sisters to do so.

The third defiance I have is in the genres I write in. I don’t write in the popular genres just so I can sell books. I write genres that I know fairly well and that God tells me to write in.

What status quo have you defied?

Birthday Bash Media Kit

Who doesn’t like a birthday party? Faith certainly does. November 19th was the third birthday of her debut novel, A Mighty Fortress. To celebrate, she has all sorts of fun going on. First, she’s released a newly revised version of A Mighty Fortress. Second, she has most of her published books on sale. Third, she’s releasing the box set of all five of her novels for a special discounted price. And fourth, but not least, she now has the audiobook of her AMF available! Read on for more party fun.

A Mighty Fortress (Hymns of the West Book 1) by [Blum, Faith]

About the Book

“Stay back!” Joshua ordered.  He kept his eyes on the scene below while waving his arm in Ruth’s direction.  “Get deeper into the woods and stay down low to the ground.”

Joshua hazarded a glance behind him.  He could no longer see Ruth and breathed a sigh of relief.  In one swift move, he grabbed his rifle and lay flat to the ground.  Extending the rifle, he aimed at the shorter man whose gun was pointed at Bradshaw.  

Joshua and Ruth Brookings are traveling by stagecoach to finally join their parents in Montana. Attacked by murderous outlaws, the teens barely escape with their lives and must survive in the barren Wyoming and Montana territories and escape the man who’s hunting them.

Seven years ago, Jed Stuart ran away from home and joined Tom’s gang. Jed is tired of the lawlessness and wants out. The only problem? He is the boss’s right-hand man and will never be able to leave. And what’s one more stagecoach robbery, anyway?

Can Joshua lean on God’s strength to keep himself and his sister alive until they find a town?   Will Jed be able to face his anger or will it consume him completely? All three are running–the hunter and hunted. What will happen when they meet?


Faith is excited to announce that she partnered with Michael Stanton to produce an audiobook version of her book. We’re not sure exactly when it will be available, but if you sign up for her New Releases newsletter, you will get an email with the announcement.

About the Author

Faith Blum started writing at an early age. She started even before she could read! She even thought she could write better than Dr. Seuss. (The picture doesn’t show it well, but there are scribblings on the page of Green Eggs and Ham). Now that she has grown up a little more, she knows she will probably never reach the success of Dr. Seuss, but that doesn’t stop her from trying.

When she isn’t writing, Faith enjoys doing many right-brained activities such as reading, crafting, playing piano, and playing games with her family. One of her dreams is to visit Castle City, Montana, someday to see the ghost town she chose for her characters to live in. She currently lives on a hobby farm with her family in Wisconsin.

There are many ways to connect with Faith online. All of them can be found in one convenient place: On her website you can find links to her various social media sites and both of her blogs.


The Giveaway

Faith is offering three prizes!

Grand Prize:

  • Audiobook of A Mighty Fortress (MP3 download)—Could be a short delay
  • The Solid Rock Notebook

1st Prize:

  • Feather Quill Necklace

2nd Prize:

  • eBook set of Hymns of the West: The Complete Series

Rafflecopter HTML below, or use this link:

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Hymns of the West, the Complete Series

Faith also just released her first box set, the complete Hymns of the West series. It’s available for a special discounted pre-order price until November 26th and will stay at that price until November 30th.

Here on Amazon.

About the Book

Two Families…
The Brookings family move from Illinois to Montana to start a horse ranch. Their journey to Montana has hazards of its own, as does their life in Castle City, affecting each of them in various ways.
The Stuarts have been living a secluded life in Tennessee since the matriarch of the family died. When Jed runs away, they seclude themselves even more until a letter arrives that changes their lives—one at a time—forever.

Two Worldviews…
One family has believes in God with their whole hearts, living out their lives to the glory of God. The other family believes in God in a general sense, but they have no commitment toward Him or His ways.

One Providential God.
A stagecoach robbery instigates their meeting. Two years later, they meet again. Another year and their lives cross paths again. What happens when God’s providence brings two families with two different worldviews together in ways only He could have planned?


Every eBook in the Hymns of the West series is on sale. A Mighty Fortress is permafree, and the other eBooks in the series are $0.99. In addition, the spin-off novella series has a book on sale as well.


A Mighty Fortress

Be Thou My Vision

Amazing Grace

Lily of the Valley

The Solid Rock

Hymns of the West: The Complete Series

Life and Salvation: Hymns of the West Novellas 1-3

Faith also has the paperbacks on sale if you buy them from Createspace with the discount codes.

A Mighty Fortress

$2.00 off (8.99) with code: MBJB3XSY

Be Thou My Vision

$2.00 off (6.99) with code: GQ3KTJYY

Amazing Grace

$1.50 off (9.49) with code:93LQLRJ8

Lily of the Valley

$2.00 off (11.99) with code: TJXAYXD2

The Solid Rock

$1.50 off (10.49) with code: 7626YZAK

Life and Salvation

$2.00 (6.99) with code: V4Y5K46D

Tour Schedule

November 19

Bookish Orchestrations-Tour Introduction

Author Franky A Brown-Book Spotlight

Rachel Rossano Rambles-Guest Post

November 21

Writing Dreams-Author Interview

God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae-Character Spotlight-Joshua

Zerina Blossom’s Books-Author Interview

November 22

Precious Moments-Giveaway

The Overactive Imagination-Review of Be Thou My Vision

Perpetual Indie Perspective-Book Spotlight

November 23

Frances Hoelsema– Book Spotlight

Thought of Anna S. Brie-Author Interview

November 25

With a Joyful Noise-Guest Post

Bookish Orchestrations-Candid Author Interview

Firethorn Blog-Author Spotlight

November 26

Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections-Character Interview with Ruth

Ladies in Defiance-Guest Post

November 28

Once Upon an Ordinary– Author Interview

Written Rest-Character Spotlight -Anna

November 29

The Overactive Imagination-Review of A Mighty Fortress

Jaye L. Knight– Character Spotlight-Caleb

November 30

Bookish Orchestrations-Tour Wrap-up and winner

Laurie Alice Eakes: Standing in Defiance of Stereotypes & Collision of the Heart #BookGiveaway #LadiesinDefiance

Displaying rwa2016 montlake booksigning.JPGA blonde, a Brunette, and a redhead are taking a selfie…

I know of no joke that starts that way, but it seems possible and likely. How many of us have heard a hundred dumb blonde jokes? This is a stereotype—that blondes are pretty and therefore don’t need to have brains to get ahead, which is good, since they don’t have brains.

To all the brilliant or moderately intelligent blondes out there, this is grossly unfair.

For the most part, stereotypes are unfair because they are fixtures in our minds that leave no room for looking at people as individuals.

Do you know that pretty children get more attention in classrooms? That means they do better in school. This perpetuates the notion that pretty equals smart. This, of course, is in direct defiance of the dumb blonde stereotype. Conversely, we think the skinny guy with ugly glasses is probably smart, too.

What are some other ones? That women can’t drive, be engineers, or change their own tires. That men can’t be homemakers, the parent who stays home to raise the kids, or nurses.

We all know exceptions to these rules. We all know many exceptions to these rules. So why does society, authors, TV program producers/writers, script writers, and broadcasters persist in maintaining stereotypes? Because it’s easy. It’s lazy. It lets us be superficial and not bother getting to know individuals.

Let’s be defiant and look at people first.

How many times do we look at an overweight person and presume they are stupid? Have you ever talked loudly to someone with an accent, presuming that will help them understand you better? Or have you ever talked to a blind person’s companion rather than the person because you think they can’t—what?—hear you? It’s kind of amusing, and yet it is truly offensive to the person to whom one is speaking. People presume someone with a disability doesn’t have a job, according to surveys of—wait for it—human resource managers, who also admitted up to 35% of them (which means more probably think it) they don’t think a person with a disability will make a good employee because—I have no clue.

They don’t look at the individual or abilities, just a preconceived notion called a stereotype.

We can do better than that and meet people where they are as people. We can be in defiance of stereotypes, whether we are hiring someone, encountering a stranger in a check-out line, or creating a character in a book.

What are some stereotypes you have faced in the last week?

I’ll start: That historical romance novel equals bodice-ripper. I have written over 20 historical romances and not one bodice gets ripped.

Best-selling, Award-winning author Laurie Alice Eakes has always been opinionated and mouthy, happy to push back against the norms. Her heroines reflect this attitude, being women who were professionals when doing so was defiance in itself. She even moved north just in time for winter.


Mia Roper isn’t a typical nineteenth-century woman. Refusing to pass up the hard-won opportunity to prove herself as a journalist, she left Hillsdale, Michigan, hoping in vain that Ayden Goswell would follow her to Boston.

When the train bringing her back for her first major story crashes in a snowstorm outside town, Mia is stranded. Not even the survival of a fellow passenger, a toddler, can ease her heart’s sudden ache at seeing Ayden, now a history professor at the local college, courting someone else.

Ayden’s never gotten over the fact that the most fascinating woman he ever met chose her career over marriage…and he let her go. But marrying the department director’s daughter could at least guarantee him a permanent job. It’s a satisfactory arrangement, yet his kind, pretty bride-to-be has one simple flaw: she’s not Mia.

As soon as the trains are running, Mia will be leaving again, unless she and Ayden can reconcile ambition and love—and take a leap of faith together.

The Giveaway

Thank you so much Laurie, and as a bonus, she has offered to giveaway a copy of Collision of the Heart, a historical romance set in 1856, where my heroine beats the stereotype that women in the nineteenth century were uneducated and did not have jobs. My heroine has a four-year college degree from a co-ed college and is a journalist, all historically accurate. A US winner will have a choice of paperback, Audible, or e-copy and an international winner will receive an e-copy or audible book. Enter through the Rafflecopter link below:

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The giveaway will run through December 5, 2016 and the winner will be announced on December 6.

You can read more about her and her books at:
or on Twitter @LaurieAEakes

Down Squash Blossom Road by Janet Chester Bly Guest Post & #BookGiveaway #LadiesinDefiance

The Mother Who Wouldn’t Go Home by JANET CHESTER BLY

In Down Squash Blossom Road, twenty-five year old redhead Reba Mae Cahill helps her widowed grandmother ranch in the small town of Road’s End, Idaho. Right in the midst of a costly lawsuit against them that may cause them to lose the ranch, they’re prodded on a trip to rescue Reba’s estranged mother, Hanna Jo, who abandoned her daughter long ago, from a Reno mental institute. Their plan is to get her and return immediately back home.

But when they arrive in Reno and get Hanna Jo released, she issues an ultimatum, “I’m not going to Road’s End. Not now, not ever. Take me to Goldfield, Nevada instead.”

This throws Reba and her grandmother in a dilemma. They both feel the intense pressure to return to the ranch. But they signed papers that one of them must stay with Hanna Jo or she forfeits her freedom with a return to the institute.

Finally, after a quarrel, Reba agrees with great reluctance to take her mother where she wants to go and the grandmother heads back to Road’s End. Despite many emotional undercurrents, Reba attempts to get along with her mom, build a relationship, at least mend fences, if possible. And coax Hanna Jo to return home.

On the road trip with her mom, Reba tackles again her feelings of abandonment and acknowledges the depth of the hurt of rejection. And she must cope with her mother’s stubborn refusal to face the choices of her past and shore up responsibility for her future and her place with her family. Will she keep on messing up Reba’s life?

Meanwhile, what secret lies down Squash Blossom Road?

Most every reader can relate in some way to the struggle between this daughter and defiant mother. Perhaps you may not have been dumped on a doorstep, but suffered loss of love in some other way. The end of a relationship. A divorce or being widowed. Or some wound of disconnection that lead to damage of self-esteem or a deep sense of aloneness. What good could possibly come of it?


Janet Chester Bly is the widow of Christy Award winning western author Stephen Bly. Together—his, hers, and theirs– they published 120 fiction and nonfiction books for adults and kids (8-12 yrs). Janet and their three sons finished Stephen’s last novel, Stuart Brannon’s Final Shot, a Selah Award Finalist. Down Squash Blossom Road is Book 2 in the Reba Cahill contemporary western mystery series. Book 1 is Wind in the Wires. Find out more at

NYTimes and USA Today Bestselling author Rachel Hauck said of Book 1, Wind in the Wires: “I love your voice! I love the setting…It’s a great story!”

Download Now! 5 Free Chapters of Down Squash Blossom Road, Book 2! Click here:

Download Now! 5 free chapters of Wind in the Wires, Book 1! Click here: novel/

Find Janet online here:

Bly Books on Facebook:

Bly Books Blog:  Facebook:




Follow Bly Books on Amazon Author Page for new releases: and


The Giveaway

Thank you so much Janet, and as a bonus, she has offered to giveaway a copy of Down Squash Blossom Road to one lucky winner. A US winner will have a choice of paperback or e-copy and an international winner will receive an e-copy. Enter through the Rafflecopter below:

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The giveaway will run through November 21, 2016 and the winner will be announced on November 22.

Defiance Under Fire: Sarah Tarrant and how Salem nearly started the Revolution #LadiesinDefiance

austenDefiance Under Fire

The story of Sarah Tarrant is more than simply a tale of a single woman’s defiant act that almost began the American Revolution almost three months early, it is the story of the spirit of independence that inspired patriots from one end of the continent to another.  From slaves to the richest men in the colonies, from young southern lads to Yankee ladies.  Sarah Tarrant spoke what so many felt when she boldly challenged the British regulars.

On the 26th of February, just over eighty days before the fateful shots on Lexington Green “changed the instruments of warfare from the pen to the sword” as future President John Adams put it, a tempest was blowing in the bitter cold winter winds of Salem, Massachusetts.  General Thomas Gage, the conflicted British Commander in Chief in the colonies had received word that a munition store, not unlike those in Concord that he dispatched his ill-fated troops to seize on April 19th, was in the town of Salem.  Fortunately for it’s inhabitants the cool and steady leadership of Lieutenant Colonel Leslie at the command of this expedition prevented any bloodshed, but just narrowly.

After being delayed for nearly two hours by residents, who had roused themselves out of their houses of worship to defend their homeland on this chilly Sunday the patient Alexander Leslie had finally been allowed to cross a necessary drawbridge by the obstinate patriots (whose brethren had also scuttled and hid all ferries and other means of crossing) on the opposite shore where he desired to search for the arms and munitions, and a couple of rumored canons.  With that contrived delay, naturally the militia’s stores had been secured in a new location, and with Leslie’s consent that he would harm no property and only go 500 yards from the opposite side of the bridge before turning about and going to Boston, the locals had little worry that Leslie would do any harm.  So amid taunts and derogatory nicknames the Lieutenant Colonel and his men conducted his now pointless search and prepared to head back across the bridge in shivering dejection.

That is where the saucy Sarah Tarrant comes in.  From an upper story window this plucky nurses’ pink face showed itself, with a boldness and audacity that was a little much for one of the regulars, especially when taunted with such invectives by a member of the fairer sex, which few seemed to believe had the right to speak up on weighty matters, and none in public settings to be sure.

“Go home and tell your master he sent you on a fool’s errand” she goaded them before launching into upbraiding them for breaking the solemnity of their Sunday meetings “and has broken the peace of our Sabbath. Do you think we were born in the woods, to be frightened of owls?” One equally hot-tempered British soldier wished to answer her fiery tongue with his firestick and leveled his musket at her as she challenged him from the upstairs window.  Sarah’s defiant response still imbues the reader with a sense of boldness over two hundred and forty years after  “Fire, if you have the courage, but I doubt it.”

Sarah lived in Salem Massachusetts and from her brief interview with the British on that frigid February day, we can surmise she was a woman of faith.  One who was not going to sit by and watch her day of worship be desecrated by loud martial displays intended to frighten the populace into cowering before the most successful fighting force then treading the earth.  She publicly despised the might and power of the British Empire, while simultaneously defying the norms of her day, where women’s opinions were not to be stated outside of their homes, private circles, and correspondence.  A public display of patriotism by a female, would have been shuddered at a handful of years before, but women had been aiding in the boycotts and non-importation agreements, right alongside the men.  The desperation of the times had eased the restraints on the gentler sex in some cases, such as Sarah’s. The patriot fathers understood that the support of both sexes was crucial to success. Charles Gadsden, the man behind the ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ flag that still flies in defiance of oppressive government to this day, confessed that without the women, the embargo against the British would never work.  The men needed the cooperation of their women-folk.  The idea of a woman expressing the fervor of nationalism and a defiant attitude towards corruption was less appalling to the senses of the countryside already in turmoil, at least for the patriot colonist, the British clearly had a difficult time stomaching her heated speech.  Her opposition summed up the grievances and determination of so many patriots of every race, sex, and creed.  They would not see their Sabbath desecrated nor would they be bullied by the long strong-arm of the British Crown. They, their tea, their troops and the whole line of Tories from Amity to St Augustine could leave or be forced to leave, their sacred rights would not be infringed upon an inch without a fight.

Some of Sarah’s language seems foreign to us today in some aspect, ‘what’s all this business about owls and woods?’ could plausibly be a thought you had upon reading her words.  Fortunately, I found an explanation for it to save you the effort of googling it yourself.  And the meaning is possibly the most defiant part of Sarah Tarrant’s challenge, even more than the daring a man with a loaded gun and the government authority backing him to fire at you. “Do you think we were born in the woods to be frightened by owls?” was a common phrase employed to express your fearless regard towards something.  It was the same as to say, I’m accustomed to dangers, and you, wind-burnt redcoat, are nothing compared to what I’ve already been through.  Pause a moment and think of the woods of the time.  The “backcountry” as it was called, or the wilderness.  The “woods” of those days weren’t the nice places you go for a summer hike in.  The woods still had bears and other hazardous wildlife which might try you for lunch.  There was also still the clear and present threat of coming across hostile natives.  The “woods” were full of dangers, surviving minus the Indians and the carnivorous wildlife was hard enough.  Away from cities you had to rely on yourself or die for lack of food.  Now picture all of those perils, and how much effect on you is the hoot of a screech owl in the night going to have on you? You’re more worried about the things you can’t hear, like the soft-tread of moccasins or the slither of an unseen poisonous snake or the loud approaches and primal growls of the bear and the wolf.  An owl is not going to phase you in the woods of colonial America, and a British military display is not going to frighten you when you know you have the moral high-ground.

Little is known of Sarah Tarrant, except for her actions that day which nearly sparked the patriots to arms as Lexington was destined to do, but much can be learned from her.  Defying social customs for a good cause, not arbitrarily for attention, but for the benefit of all, has a definite place in the range of what is proper for a woman, because it transcends your sex and speaks to you as a human who is not about to see things sacred and dear be tarnished by tyranny. To be bold as brass staring down a bayonet backed by the mightiest power on the earth is something in this day of ever-increasing government interference that ought to be remembered.  It seems reasonable, that were Sarah Tarrant walking the streets of twenty-first century America in addition to her cell phone and a packet of disinfectant wipes (can you imagine how thrilled nurses of yesteryear would be about Lysol?) she would probably be packing heat to go with it.  So remember the saucy nurse of Salem who nearly started the Revolution.  She’s a hero worth holding up to the young women in our lives as something to strive to be, the spirit and strength of a real woman, something that is fastly fading in the modern era’s obsession with victimhood and passivity.  Remember the defiant folk of Salem and Sarah Tarrant (also you could remember the Alamo, and that’d make my little Texas heart glow with joy too!)



God Bless

Austen Lea

You can connect with Austen at and on facebook

Sondra Kraak: Standing in Defiance of Shame, Standing up for Redemption #LadiesinDefiance

sondra-kraakHello fellow readers and writers. What a joy to be here today and share a bit of my heart.

I hear you talk a lot about defiance on this corner of the blogosphere, and when I think defiance, I think standing against what’s wrong (a visual being putting on the armor of God), and shoving God’s goodness in the face of brokenness.

With that in mind, I want to make two short connections. First, let me encourage your heart with thoughts on Isaiah 61:7.

The words of the Lord: “Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs.”

This is why I love the prophets. This hope. This spoken truth: the shame that is universally experienced in the curse of our sinful nature is promised to be taken away in Christ. More so (there is always a more so, isn’t there? A beyond-our-expectations goodness that God pours out on us), we are promised a double portion.

To fully understand the depth of this radical promise, take a moment and dwell on an area of shame in your life . . . we all have those areas. A weight of shame sinks deep and carries the lie that what was done to us or by us has so dirtied us that we have lost worthiness.

Now consider Jesus, stretching his arms wide and publicly enduring the humiliation of the cross, bearing the crushing weight of my sin, your sin, the world’s sin, and then throwing off the chains of death and rising from the grave. That’s grace. That’s salvation. That’s defiance of death and sin.

And that’s enough for us, isn’t it? To be snatched from hell’s jaws and promised eternal life in heaven?

That’s not enough, God says. He goes beyond what’s enough to what is abundant. He offers restoration of brokenness. Plenty where there is lack. Joy where there was sorrow. And worthiness where there is shame. This is the double portion. This is scandalous grace.

This is an in-your-face defiance of the enemy of our souls. Not only does God redeem us by crushing the serpent’s head. He blesses us with every spiritual blessing through Christ so that “those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame” (Psalm 34:5).

We have a defiant God. A Father that seeks to not only stand down evil, but fully rebel against the effects of sin in this world—His created world.

What does Isaiah 61:7 mean for me as a storyteller? It means every story I tell has a portion of shame and an aspect of redemption. Every story sets forth the battle that we live every day between flesh and Spirit, between lies and Truth.

In my upcoming release, Such a Hope, this shame/redemption dance takes place on the heart of a hero who’s turned his back on the God he believes let him down. If you want to know what defiance looks like in an unredeemed, worldly way, you need only look to Tristan, the hardhearted one, the one who’s rebelled against hope.

For a godly image of defiance, I present to you Anna, the tenderhearted heroine with the gift of healing. Despite being questioned and held in suspicion by her community, she refuses to back down from her faith in the God that heals. But it’s not without fear, for she’s not your usual stubborn, bold heroine.


Here’s a glimpse of the cover and a blurb:

Anna Warren grew up on the seat of a wagon, the daughter of Seattle’s busiest freighter. After her father’s death—a tragedy away from home—she returns to their cabin on the outskirts of Seattle, seeking the sense of belonging that eluded her childhood. But will her desire to pray for miraculous healing for the sick and wounded endear or alienate her to the community? Her most aggravating challenger is also her staunchest defender and has brown hair and eyes, stands six feet tall, and farms with unchecked tenacity. Tristan Porter. This farmer her father had befriended holds more secrets than Yesler’s Mill holds logs.

When ugly rumors arise about her spiritual gift and her property, Anna fears her quest to find belonging will be thwarted.

Tristan holds the truth to set her free, but revealing it will require him to face the disappointments of his past and surrender his plans for the future—a sacrifice he’s not sure he can make.

I want to invite you along on a journey of storytelling—and storylistening—with me. My desire is to not only tell stories that entertain but that nourish the soul. Let’s draw closer to Jesus together. I look forward to meeting you along the journey.

Ways to connect with Sondra:

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Character Interview with CISSY by Robin E. Mason #LadiesinDefiance

A big thank you to Robin E. Mason for joining us today. She has an interview to share with us from the lead character in her newly released book Cissy. Find out more about the Unsavory Heritage series and all about Cissy!


Cissy (unsavory heritage Book 3) by [Mason, Robin E.]

rem: Good afternoon, Cissy. Welcome.

Cissy: Good afternoon, Robin. I’m so delighted to be here. [hugs me]

rem:  You’re wearing the same dress Clara wore yesterday. Did you plan that?

Cissy: No, but we do think alike. [winks] It is my favorite, you know.

rem:  Yes, I remember that. Cissy, you are one of the most gifted people I know.

Cissy: Thank you. [smiles]

rem:  And you’re talented in so many things. What’s your favorite?

Cissy: Oh dear! Robin, I could no more choose a favorite thing to do than, as you say, choose a favorite of your children.

rem: [laughs] I get that.

Cissy:  It depends on my mood, really. Some days, I pick up my pen and write poems, some days, I draw or paint—

rem:  Do you feel a different mood for drawing versus painting?

Cissy:  That goes more to what I’m painting or drawing, or the mood I’m trying to capture. But  yes,  I reckon it has a good deal to do with my mood, as well.

rem: You wrote a lot of poems. Did you have a favorite one that you read?

Cissy:   Easily Be Thou My Vision. It’s a Gaelic prayer.

rem: I know. It’s my favorite, too. [winks] What about your music?

Cissy:  There’s not a day I don’t enjoy playing the piano.

rem: What’s your favorite thing to play?

Cissy: Sonatinas.  Muzio Clementi composed sonata and sonatinas—he was the “Father of the Piano,” you know?

rem: I did not. Clementi is a favorite of mine as well.

Cissy: You play?

rem: I have. Not in many years, though. Cissy, besides your remarkable abilities, you were quite intuitive. Beyond your years.

Cissy: I just understand things without anyone explaining them, I always did. It’s hard to explain—for instance, I knew that Clara wasn’t like that. It was puzzling to me sometimes, when we were still small.

rem: Can you give us an example?

Cissy: When Mama and Papa would speak of Scriptures. Of an evening, after Clara and I were abed. I didn’t fall to sleep right away—in fact, most nights I didn’t sleep until after Mama and Papa were abed. I would creep down the stairs—I wasn’t spying mind you—and I’d sit and listen to them, to the rhythm of God’s Word.  I could have answered—I knew the answers to their questions.

rem: Tell us about the day your Uncle Clem came home. You had never met him before that day, had you?

Cissy: No ma’am, I surely hadn’t. I knew who he was, though.  Not just on account of him being in uniform. Any old soldier could have come by our house. I heard folk at church talking about how soldiers would come to their door, begging for bread—or ale.

rem: But you invited Clem in and made him coffee.

Cissy: He hadn’t had real coffee in so long. And I wanted to talk with him.

rem: You sure surprised him.

Cissy: [shrugs] I remember how awful he smelled. I was never so glad as when Aunt Abby helped him with a bath. [laughs]

rem: Cissy, things changed for you when you were still so young.

Cissy: Mrs. Whalin. Although it really wasn’t her fault. She didn’t know any better. She just said what she believed.

Cissy:  Oh, I remember that. I did love Mama’s lavender bath powder.

rem: She was a very sad woman.

Cissy:  You’re right, Robin, she was.

rem: But her words that day—

Cissy: —I didn’t stop to think about it. In my heart I knew better.

rem: You fought against it.

Cissy: Much later, yes, I did. But it was too late…

rem:  It’s never too late, Cissy.

Cissy: [stares] Dulci—I mean, Dorothea told me that.

rem: There was so much to your story, more than the book could begin to encompass. What was the hardest thing for you?

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Cissy:  Being apart from Clara. I felt I was split in two, and a part of me hated her. I couldn’t bear that, so I stayed away.

rem: Cissy what a sad note.


rem: You left your paintings and poems as a message, correct?

Cissy: That’s right.

rem: Were they for Clara?

Cissy: I hoped she would find them, yes, and understand. But I didn’t really believe she ever would. Although, she surprised me when she came to me that day.

rem:   It gave us all such hope for you.

Cissy: Me too, Robin. Me too.

rem: Cissy, I think we should end here before we give too much of your story away.

Cissy: [laughs] I imagine you’re right. It’s been a pleasure talking with you today, Robin. Thank you for inviting me.

rem: Cissy, it’s always a pleasure to chat with you. You’ll always be in my heart—and my head.

Cissy: Thank you for telling my story. You did a mighty fine job. [hugs me again]

robin-masonI once said I should write down all the story ideas in my head so someone could write them someday. I had no idea at the time that someone was me!

I have been writing since 1995, and began working in earnest on my debut novel, Tessa in 2013.  Meanwhile, I cranked out a few dozen poems, made countless notes for story ideas, and earned my BFA in Interior Design.  I lived with depression for many years, and the inherent feelings of worthlessness and invisibility; I didn’t want to be who I was and struggled with my own identity for many years.  My characters face many of these same demons.

I write stories of identity conflict. My characters encounter situations that force the question, “Who am I, really?” For all who have ever wondered who you are or why you’re here, my stories will touch you in a very real—maybe too real—and a very deep way. I know, I write from experience.

The unsavory heritage series. Tessa, Clara Bess and Cissy, is available on Amazon, both for Kindle and in print. I also have several poems included in an anthology, Where Dreams and Visions Live (Anthologies of the Heart Book 1) by Mary Blowersas well as a short story, Sarafina’s Light, also in an anthology, Blood Moon, compiled by Mary Blowers. I will also be working on a personal compilation of poetry to be released in 2017.

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Evil words. Words that should never have been spoken. Words that she should not have heard.

But she did. And she believed them.

Everything changed when Cissy heard those words that day. She was five.

What torment is wrought when wicked words are spoken? Can Cissy’s ravaged life be redeemed? Or will she wreak havoc on all who love her?

Can the lie be undone? Is there a word powerful enough to break the curse and undo the unsavory heritage?

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Cissy is not easy reading. She faces evil and succumbs to it. She is seduced at a young age, and learns to wield her body to manipulate and wound those most dear to her. There are no graphic scenes, but neither do my scenes merely allude to what is happening.

Cissy is the dark and gritty, high-tension climax to the Unsavory Heritage series.

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