Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Maryland, My Maryland (Part 1)

I am a native Marylander, but a lifetime has passed since I was a resident. My mother’s family is from the eastern shore, and she grew up in Burtonsville (a tiny town outside of Laurel about twenty miles south of Baltimore, and according to my grandfather, only called Burtonsville because there were more Burtons than Woottens-his surname). I decided to set my current work in progress in Laurel because of its proximity to Fort Meade and Walter Reed Hospital (see what authors think about when creating a story idea?). 

Despite my knowledge of the state, I needed to research that particular area, specifically during the war. I learned that Maryland is comprised of five regions: Capital, Southern, Western, Eastern Shore, and Central, and I will be sharing about one each month through the end of the year. I hope you enjoy the journey. 

The Capital Region is located – you guessed it – outside Washington, DC, our nation’s capital and contains three counties: Frederick, Montgomery, and Prince George’s (PG as it’s known to locals). The area’s history spans three centuries, evidenced by the fact that Maryland donated land from Montgomery and Prince George’s counties to be used for the new capital city. Dotted by farms during the early days, the region is now famous for its high-tech industries and research centers in the fields of telecommunications, electronics, computers, health, and medicine. 

Pixabay/David Mark
Frederick County was home to Pennsylvania Germans who arrived in 1730 and named the county and county see for Frederick Calvert, the sixth and last Lord Baltimore. Francis Scott Key, author of The Star-Spangled Banner was born in Frederick and partnered a law firm with his brother-in-law Roger Brooke Taney who would later become Chief Justice. of the Supreme Court. The county is located in both the Appalachian Mountain and Piedmont Plateau regions and has more farms than any other Maryland County. The county’s two prominent ridges Catoctin Mountain and South Mountain form an extension of the Blue Ridge, with Middletown Valley lying between them. Many covered bridges can be seen throughout the county. There is a significant amount of Civil War history connected to Frederick. 

Montgomery County, where I spent my high school and college years was founded in 1776 by English, Scottish, and Irish settlers, and was named for General Richard Montgomery, a Revolutionary War hero. Because of its proximity to Washington, DC, there are quite a few government agencies in the county including the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Institute of Health, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In addition, the 150-year-old National Library of Medicine, the large medical library in the world, is in Bethesda. Bordered by the Potomac River, the county lies completely within the Piedmont Plateau and is made up of gently rolling hills throughout its 591 square miles. 

The 184.5-mile-long Chesapeake & Ohio Canal (C&O) runs alongside the Potomac and operated as a means of transportation and transport from 1831-1924. The tow-path (the dirt and stone lane built for canal mules to walk beside the water as they “towed” the boats through the waterway is now a heavily traveled hiking trail. And even in this age of advanced technology, you can grab a ride on White’s Ferry, the only ferry remaining on the Potomac. 

Prince George’s County is an interesting dichotomy of agriculture and technology where you can visit
Courtesy of
the National Colonial Farm Museum, Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, and Goddard Space Flight Center. Because PG County is close to Washington, DC, it is also home to several federal facilities such as Joint Base Andrews (formerly Andrews Air Force Base) and the U.S. Census Bureau. Named for Prince George of Denmark (husband of England’s Princess Anne) and founded in 1696, the county is filled with history. 

The county lies in the Atlantic coastal plain and is a mixture of rolling hills and valleys, but the terrain varies widely by location within the county. The Patuxent River forms the eastern border. Areas close to the capital tend to be characterized by suburban neighborhoods, while areas further out are more rural. Piscataway Park in Accokeek preserves many acres of woodland and wetlands along the Potomac River opposite Mount Vernon, Virginia (yes, George Washington’s Mount Vernon). Many well-known athletes, entertainers, and actors hail from PG county, but the most infamous is Mary Surratt, who was charged with conspiring to assassinate President Lincoln and was the first woman hanged by the federal government.


Will she have to run from the past for the rest of her life?

Dinah Simpkins has no chance of making a good marriage in Baltimore. Her outlaw brothers and her father’s gambling addiction have ruined the family’s reputation. Then the Westward Home and Hearts Matrimonial Agency provides an opportunity for a fresh start. After Dinah arrives in Nebraska, she discovers her brothers played a part in the death of her prospective groom’s first wife. 

As a former Pinkerton detective Nathan Childs knows when someone is lying. The bride sent by the matrimonial agency may be beautiful, but she’s definitely hiding something, and he has no intention of marrying her until he uncovers the truth. But an easier solution may be to send her packing. Then his young daughter goes missing. He and Dinah must put aside their mutual hurt and mistrust to find her.

Linda Shenton Matchett writes about ordinary people who did extraordinary things in days gone by. A volunteer docent and archivist for the Wright Museum of WWII, Linda is a former trustee for her local public library. She is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry. Linda has lived in historic places all her life, and is now located in central New Hampshire where her favorite activities include exploring historic sites and immersing herself in the imaginary worlds created by other authors. Learn more about her and her books at

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

The Lost Grave of King Richard III - Found with Supernatural Help

 By Mary Dodge Allen

King Richard III. NPG 148/from David Williamson, The National Portrait Gallery

A King’s grave is lost... How can that happen?

This is one of the many mysteries surrounding the life and death of King Richard III, the last king of the Plantagenet dynasty. He ruled as King of England for only two years, from 1483 – 1485.

How did King Richard III die?

He was killed in the Battle of Bosworth Field on August 22, 1485 – the last battle in the Wars of the Roses. During the brutal fighting, King Richard III boldly placed the royal crown on his helmet for all to see. He was killed while courageously leading a cavalry charge aimed directly toward his opponent, Henry Tudor. After winning the battle, Henry (the future King Henry VII) arranged for Richard III's dead body to be taken to the nearest town, Leicester and displayed for all to see. The coronation of King Henry VII inaugurated the reign of the Tudor dynasty.

Was King Richard III really as wicked, physically-deformed and power-hungry as the legends about him claim?

More than a century after Richard III’s death, Shakespeare wrote a play called King Richard III, portraying him as a limping deformed hunchback and a villain with no conscience, who delighted in killing anyone who posed a threat to his power. (In medieval times, a body deformity was considered a punishment from God and proof of the presence of evil dwelling within that person.)

It is known that Richard III became king in 1483 by seizing the throne after the unexpected death of his brother, King Edward IV. Richard had been named as lord protector of his brother’s 12-year-old son, who was hastily crowned King Edward V. But Richard disputed his nephew’s right to the throne. He claimed that his brother had previously been betrothed (a legally-binding tie) to Lady Eleanor Butler, so King Edward IV’s later marriage to Elizabeth Wydeville wasn’t valid, and therefore both of their young sons were illegitimate. Richard insisted that he was the rightful heir to the throne.

After he was crowned King Richard III, he took custody of his two nephews, and they mysteriously disappeared. Richard was accused of murdering his two nephews, along with other rivals. But English medieval history was rife with violent power struggles. 

Some modern-day historians wonder if the diabolical acts attributed to King Richard III might have been exaggerated or even invented by Henry Tudor. Henry could have deliberately tarnished Richard III’s reputation in order to cast himself in a favorable light, as the hero who defeated an evil king in battle, thereby strengthening his own claim to the throne.

Richard III demonstrated many positive traits. He proved his daring and courage in several battles. And years before he became king, Richard remained loyal to his brother, King Edward IV after he was deposed in 1469 by disloyal family members, allowing Henry VI to seize the throne.

Soon after Edward IV regained the throne in 1471, Henry VI was killed, and his brother George was executed as a traitor. Richard’s level of involvement in these deaths is a matter of speculation. And during his two-year reign as king, Richard III tried to institute financial reforms and clean up corruption in the royal court. He also provided for King Edward IV’s widow Elizabeth and her daughters.

So... How did King Richard III’s grave become lost to history?

Richard III’s dead body was put on display in Leicester, but his burial site was shrouded in mystery. It was rumored that his body was dumped into a pit dug into the floor of a local church – the church of the ‘Greyfriars’ (friars wearing robes of grey). But during the religious turmoil of the 1500’s, Greyfriar’s church was destroyed. Stories circulated that Richard III's body had been dug up and thrown into a river.

How was his grave discovered?

Fast Forward to the year 2004...

"I just felt I was walking on Richard III's grave," said Philippa Langley, a writer from Edinburgh. One day, while walking around the city of Leicester, she was struck by a sudden bolt of supernatural intuition about the location of Richard’s grave.

Philippa Langley in Edinburgh. (Murdo MacLeod)

For years, Philippa Langley had been researching the life of King Richard III, because she felt his life would make an interesting screenplay. But as she dug deeper into the historical facts about him, she became convinced he had been unfairly maligned. She decided she might gain additional insight into his character by walking the streets of Leicester, the last city King Richard III visited before dying in battle.

Philippa headed to a parking lot on New Street, bordered by the ruin of a medieval wall that was believed to be the site of Greyfriar’s priory. When she turned to leave, she felt compelled to enter the gated parking lot across the street. As she stood on a parking space near the red brick wall at the far end of the lot, a cold sensation penetrated her body, and chill bumps rose on her skin. She felt sure she was standing on Richard III's grave. A year later Philippa returned to that parking lot, to see if she still felt that same eerie sensation. She was surprised to find that someone had painted a large “R” on that parking space, to mark it Reserved. She took the painted "R" as a cosmic sign to investigate further.

Over the next seven years, Philippa worked hard, and with the aid of the Richard III Society, she raised £34,000 to conduct an archaeological dig at the site. She obtained a permit to dig from the Leicester City Council and enlisted the expertise of archaeologist Richard Buckley from the University of Leicester. He was eager to locate the site of Greyfriar’s church, but he had his doubts about finding Richard III’s grave. 

Excavating the parking lot (University of Leicester)

In August 2012, the dig began. The first bits of stonework were identified as remnants of a Victorian outhouse. But then... five feet down, they found two long human leg bones, along with fragments of stained glass and medieval stonework.

They obtained a permit to exhume human remains in September 2012, and then unearthed the skeleton. Carbon dating corresponded to the time Richard III died. DNA was extracted and compared with a living descendant of Richard III’s sister—a cabinet-maker in London named Michael Ibsen. His DNA was a perfect match with the skeleton!

The spine wasn’t curved like a hunchback, but it was curved slightly sideways, as in scoliosis. The arm bones were straight, as were the legs, disproving the myths that Richard III had a withered arm and walked with a limp. 

The skeleton discovered (University of Leicester)

Death was caused by blows to the skull, likely made from a halberd (medieval battle axe).

Halberd - British Battle Axe (Public Domain)

A digital artist worked with life-size 3-D scans of the skull to do a facial reconstruction, adding skin, hair and eye color. The finished result is a close likeness to the portrait of Richard III in the National Portrait Gallery.

Facial reconstruction of Richard III (University of Leicester)

In 2015, King Richard III was given an honorable reburial at Leicester Cathedral, in a coffin made by Michael Ibsen, his seventeenth-generation nephew.

Tomb of Richard III in Leicester Cathedral (Jacek Woinarowski)

Philippa Langley has co-written a book and has participated in TV projects about the discovery of Richard III’s grave. She still plans to have her screenplay about Richard III made into a film.

The discovery of King Richard III’s skeleton disproved the legend that his body was dug up and thrown into a river, as well as the myth that he had a grossly deformed physical appearance. I wonder... how many stories about his villainous behavior are also untrue?


Mary Dodge Allen is the winner of the 2022 Christian Indie Award from the Christian Indie Publisher's Association, and two Royal Palm Literary Awards from the Florida Writer's Association. She and her husband live in Central Florida, where she has served as a volunteer with the local police department. Her childhood in Minnesota, land of 10,000 lakes, sparked her lifelong love of the outdoors. She has worked as a Teacher, Counselor and Social Worker. Her quirky sense of humor is energized by a passion for coffee and chocolate. She is a member of the Florida Writer's Association, American Christian Fiction Writers and Faith Hope and Love Christian Writers. 


Mary's recent novel: Hunt for a Hometown Killer won the 2022 Christian Indie Awards, First Place - Mystery/Suspense.

Click to buy Hunt for a Hometown Killer at

Link to Mary's Podcast on Sarah Hamaker's show: "The Romantic Side of Suspense"

Monday, July 4, 2022

Chicago's Unofficial Mascot Lions are Missing and Here's Why

 By Pamela Meyers

A 1933 Postcard
Source: P. Jones; Art Institute
of Chicago

Many people who live in the Chicago area take them for granted. Even if they live and work in the city and they often walk past them, they are accustomed to seeing them there so they pay scant attention. Until now. Recently, the sculpted brass lions who have stood guard outside Chicago’s Art Institute for over 100 years were removed. Not forever. They are being cleaned and will return. Seeing photos of their empty platforms, I wondered how they came to be there at all. 

When the Columbian Exposition (also known as the 1893 World’s Fair) was held in Chicago, the building that houses the Art Institute was included in the fair even though it wasn’t directly located on the fairgrounds. Since the building was earmarked to be used as an art museum after the fair ended, it was one of only a couple fair buildings (the other being the Museum of Science and Industry) that wasn’t made of plaster. At the end of the exposition’s run, the building remained open to the public to begin its new life as an art museum. 

The Art Institute in 1893 before the lions arrived
Source: Art Institute of Chicago

Already Edward Kemeys, a well-known local animalier (a sculptor of animals), had
Edward Kemeys
Source: P. Jones; Art Institute
of Chicago

been commissioned to sculpt a pair of lions that would flank the main doors to the museum, but they wouldn’t be ready until May 1894. Ever since the two-ton lions have held their positions on either side of the steps leading to the museum’s front doors. 

Kemeys described the lions by calling them “Northern” and “Southern.” He said that the northern lion was in a position of being on the prowl, with his back up ready to roar and spring. He stated the southern lion was in an attitude of defiance, closely watching something in the distance. 

Over the years, the city has informally adopted them as its own. At Christmas, they each wear a holiday wreath around their necks and whenever a local pro sports team makes it to the finals, the lions wear the team hats 


Source: Wikipedia

During the height of the Covid pandemic, the lions even wore masks!

As stated earlier, a few weeks ago a flatbed truck took the lions away for deep cleaning and they won’t be back for about five weeks. A planter has been placed on each of the two pedestals. You can bet those planters won’t be wearing any Bears helmets and Cubs caps. 


The lions took a road trip down the Chicago expressways!
Source: Sperry Walker;

Somehow these planters don't make adequate 
substitutes for the lions.
Source: The Art Institute of Chicago

Have you been to the Art Institute in Chicago? Did you have your picture taken with one of the lions? A lot of people have.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Trail Trees, Part II

by Rebecca May Davie

Welcome back to the discussion about Trail Trees. Native Americans molded these trees to point travelers in a certain direction. They could lead toward meeting grounds, burial sites, water, or other important locations. If you missed the first installment, find the post here: Trail Trees Part 1.  

In addition to Trail Trees and Horse and Rider Trail Trees presented last time, there are Message Trees. The bend in these trees is less severe. Instead of packing the nose that would give information, messages hide in a carved hollow. For example, the Creek used red sticks to convey information. The holes were convenient places to hide correspondence. Others passing by could be unaware of the secret cache.

Message Tree GA
Near village sites and water, there is another possible type of Message Tree. These trees have multitudes of knots circling the tree from base to summit. The meaning is unknown. We wonder if we have one such tree on our property. See the image at left. It appears old enough… but we may never have confirmation. I wish I had taken a photo before the leaves unfurled. Yet, you can just distinguish the multitudes of burls peeking out from under the foliage.

Treasure Trees are yet another variation. These trees bend toward the ground to indicate a buried treasure. Or the bend points toward a cave. In Georgia, before the Cherokee were forcibly removed, they mined gold. To save what belonged to their clans, the resourceful groups found locations to conceal their wealth, hoping to return one day to reclaim their bounty.

Tree with mountain and bird carvings
There are also straight trees with carvings. I read a book that claimed the Cherokee also left messages on trees to show where they buried treasure or to mark events or trails. Beech trees seem to be the preferred species. A family member and I are not in agreement about this tree you see on the right. Does it contain an image? It is of an age; however, the markings may just be a pattern in the bark. My imagination would rather believe it is indeed a message. What do you think? Do you see the mountain and a bird up above?

One could argue that these Native Americans were among the first on the continent to use codes. Secret codes expressed via trees. Fascinating!

Speaking of trees in question… I wonder if this could be a Trail Tree. See the image below. It looks like it has a nose - not the deer's nose. :0) Look above the deer. 

We talked about what and why, how about …


Possible Trail Tree with deer beneath
It might be difficult to ascertain if a tree is in fact a Trail Tree and if so, which kind. I found this resource while researching the trees we discovered. If you think you might have a veritable find, fill out a form on the Mountain Stewards website. They are collecting data and seeking funding to protect these paragons of history. 

For more information: Indian Trail Trees by Elaine Jordan. It is out of print, but you may be able to find a copy online or at your local library. Dennis Downes studied these trees and their meanings for over 30 years. Check out his website or download his book, Native American Trail Marker Trees: Marking Paths Through the Wilderness. 

As you can tell, it can be fun, trying to find these trees. When you are in the woods the next time, pay attention. You may discover a Trail Tree or two. Happy hunting!

                     As a child, Rebecca loved to write. She nurtured this skill as                             an educator and later as an editor for an online magazine. 

Rebecca then joined the Cru Ministry - NBS2GO/Neighbor Bible Studies 2GO, at its inception. As the YouVersion Content Creator, she uploaded over 75 plans on the app.

Rebecca lives in the mountains with her husband, the youngest of their two sons, and a rescued dog named Ranger. If it were up to her, she would be traveling - right now. As a member of ACFW, FHLCW, Jerry’s Guild, and Hope*Writers, Rebecca learns the craft of fiction while networking with a host of generous writers. She is working on her first fiction novel. This story unfolds from the 1830s in Northern Georgia.
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Saturday, July 2, 2022

History of the Sofa - A Cultural Revolution

Amber Schamel Lemus Christian Author
Blogger: Amber Schamel Lemus

Photo by Hal Gatewood on Unsplash
One of the most common items in our Western World is the sofa or couch in every living room. It's one of the staple pieces that every newlywed must acquire before their home is truly "put together". But it wasn't always this way. In fact, this now-common piece of furniture was once a player in a cultural revolution.

The couch is an early piece of furniture, dating all the way back to Ancient Egypt and Rome. However, at this time, couches were only for the affluent members of society. Also, these couches were not padded, or have the plushy comfort we associate with sofas today.

The word "sofa" is believed to have originated from the Arabic word "suffah" which means "long bench".

In Egypt, archeologists found a number of royal couches in the tomb of the boy king Tutankhamun. Historians believe that couches in ancient Egypt were also considered beds, so the placing of these in the tomb were most certainly to indicate the king being "at rest" during the afterlife. 

Gilded Wooden Couch (Reign of Tutankhamun 1336-1326 B.C.E.)
©Laboratoriorosso, Viterbo, Italy

In ancient Rome, couches were intended for more than just lounging. We're all familiar with the reclined dining positions we've so often seen in movies and paintings. This meant that around the table were benches or couches that allowed the guests to recline during the meal. Padding on these couches was merely a drape or some sort of tapestry.

Roberto Bompiani, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The time period of 1500-1650 is considered the "Oak Era" in furniture history. Houses of common folk consisted of very little furniture, and even the rich had very rigid pieces, most commonly made from oak wood. This rigid nature of their furniture was a natural reflection of their social rules and expectations. Etiquette and propriety were very strict. People were expected to remain erect, with good posture, and presentable poses throughout the day, relaxing only at night, or sometimes, when alone. Therefore, all the furniture lended itself to this image and purpose. Chairs were not meant to provide a plush resting place like our "lazy boys" of today. They were simply meant as a place to perch and provide a respite for your feet.

I never once thought that the architecture of houses had an influence on the development of furniture, but it did. When houses were drafty and damp, the solution was to put up tapestries and carpets on the walls to help insulate and absorb the moisture. When these became obsolete, people looked for other uses for these tapestries, and that's when chairs and sofas began to have upholstery on their seats and backs. People took the tapestries that used to be on the walls and started using them to adorn their furniture.

Antique double armchair, c1680
Photo Credit:

Around 1620, sofas started to rise in popularity and become more commonplace. However, the comfort of our modern sofas we owe to the French. They were the first to invent the "double chair" which was the first true fore-runner to the modern sofa.

The French were leaders in fashion and comfort when it came to furniture. During this era, the philosophers began exploring the "art of living" and the discovery of casual living exploded. The same decade that the cushioned sofa debuted, people began to read for pleasure, casual dress became a fad, and cotton textile fabrics suddenly became widely available. It was a revolution of comfort and casual private life.

Some, however, looked at this comfort revolution as society coming apart at the seams. In her book, "The Age of Comfort: When Paris Discovered Casual -- and the Modern Home Began" author Joan DeJean discusses how members of the court began slouching on seats, draping their arms over chair-backs, and *gasp* curling their legs while sitting. DeJean also mentions that the king's sister-in-law, in a letter to her cousins, railed against the new casual attitude decrying that etiquette and protocol were completely done-away with. That was about four years after the sofa made its big entrance.

Despite the unraveling of societal protocols, the comfortable sofa spread throughout Europe and the world. Different models were designed, such as the Chesterfield or the Davenport styles. Many of the first sofa specimens were covered in what was known as "Turkey work" which was basically an imitation of a Turkish carpet. The Germans were the first to use horsehair as a padding for furniture and make it popular.

Victorian era sofas are my favorite, aesthetically speaking, however you simply can't beat the comfort of our modern sofas. I'm so glad that culture finally developed them.

What is your favorite style of sofa?


Two-time winner of the Christian Indie Award for historical fiction, Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. She has a passion for travel, history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call "historical fiction at its finest".

She lives near the Ozarks in her "casita" with her prince charming. Between enjoying life as a boy mom, and spinning stories out of soap bubbles, Amber loves to connect with readers and hang out on Goodreads with other bookish peoples.

Amber is a proud member of the American Christian Fiction Writers Association. Visit her online at and download a FREE story by subscribing to her Newsletter!

Friday, July 1, 2022

The WWII Comet Escape Line

by Cindy Kay Stewart

Today's post continues the story of the Comet Escape Line, the network  established during World War II to escort downed Allied Airmen safely out of Europe and back into the fight. If you missed the first four posts and would like to read them, they can be found here and here and here and here.

After Dédée De Jongh's arrest in January of 1943, her assistant, Franco, took over her responsibilities. Dédée's father, Paul, with a price on his head, refused to leave France as long as Dédée remained imprisoned. He resumed escorting airmen from train station to train station in Paris. In May, Paul hired Jean Masson, a Belgian who worked with the resistance in northern France, to be a guide for the Brussels to Paris route. Masson was described as a short man with untidy blond hair and fierce eyes. He was in his early twenties.

Masson brought his first group of seven airmen down from Brussels to the Gare Montparnesse (train station) in Paris to the delight of Paul and others working with him in Paris. Masson was eager to please, polite, and treated Paul with deference. In early June, Masson warned Paul to be prepared for a large party arriving from Brussels on June 7th. He stated that all Paul's helpers would be needed. 

Gare Montparnesse - Station for Trains to and from Belgium

On June 7th, two women workers were sent north to Lille to meet Masson and the pilots and help escort them to Paris. When they arrived, Masson met them and handed over an airman to each of the women. One couple went to a little café across the street while they waited for the train back to Paris. They were promptly surrounded by the Gestapo and arrested. The other couple was arrested after the train left the station.

Late that same day, Paul and two other team members arrived at the Gare du Nord and were waiting on the platform as Masson had requested. Masson arrived with a number of Allied airmen and greeted Paul's group, shaking hands and smiling. Soon the group was surrounded by at least twelve gendarmes (police). They were all handcuffed and led to the headquarters of the railway police, including Jean Masson.

Gare du Nord (train station) at the end of the street

The three people in Paul's group were taken to the Gestapo office on the Rue des Saussaies. Jean Masson was not with them, but he soon showed up, smiling and free of handcuffs. He spat on the floor in front of them, and called them fools. Paul and his helpers were shocked to discover Masson was a traitor. 

Franco returned to Paris from Spain eight days later and went to Paul's apartment on the Rue Vaneau. He discovered rotting fruit and moldy vegetables. He gathered up all the false papers and money he could find and loaded them into a suitcase and hurried away. Franco and another operative checked the apartments of other helpers and discovered their doors had been sealed by the Gestapo. Realizing Paul and his helpers had been arrested, Franco and his helper grieved the loss of their friends. This didn't stop Franco, however. He was more determined than ever to keep the Comet Line running.

If you've enjoyed this story, please return on August 1st to follow the continuing perils of the Comet Line.


Resource: Little Cyclone by Airey Neave. Biteback Publishing Ltd, 2013, 2016.


Cindy Kay Stewart, a high school social studies teacher, church pianist, and inspirational historical romance author, writes stories of hope, steeped in faith and love. Her manuscripts have finaled in the Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Award of Excellence and the Oregon Christian Writers Cascade Awards, semi-finaled in the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Genesis contest, and won ACFW’s First Impressions contest and the Sandra Robbins Inspirational Writing Award. Cindy is passionate about revealing God’s handiwork in history. She resides in North Georgia with her college sweetheart and husband of forty-one years. Her daughter, son-in-law, and four adorable grandchildren live only an hour away. Cindy’s currently writing two fiction series set in WWII Europe.

Thursday, June 30, 2022


School’s Out For Summer

Put Your Feet Up With One of These Reads



The Quilting Circle (Book 3)

A Sweet Historical Romance Series

By Mary Davis

Can Nicole learn to be enough of a lady to snag the handsome rancher? Nicole Waterby heads down the mountain to fetch herself a husband, not realizing women don’t wear trousers or carry a gun. She has a lot to learn. Rancher Shane Keegan has drifted from one location to another to find a place to belong. When Nicole crosses his path, he wonders if he can have love, but he soon realizes she’s destined for someone better than a saddle tramp. Will love stand a chance while both Nicole and Shane try to be people they’re not?




By Debbie Lynne Costello

A broken heart, controlling father, and intrusive Scot leave Charlotte reeling. Accused of stealing an heirloom pin, she must choose between an unwanted marriage and the ruin of her family name. With her and her sister’s futures at stake, Charlotte must navigate through injustice to find forgiveness and true happiness. Eager to find the traitor who caused the death of his brother, Duncan comes to America attempting to fit into Charleston society. But when the headstrong Charlotte catches his eye, Duncan acquires a second mission—winning the lass's hand. After several spurnings, he uses unconventional ways of winning her heart.




A Time-Slip Novel

By Kathleen E. Kovach, et al.

A secret. A key. Much was buried on the Titanic, but now it's time for resurrection. Follow two intertwining stories a century apart. 1912 - Matriarch Olive Stanford protects a secret after boarding the Titanic that must go to her grave. 2012 - Portland real estate agent Ember Keaton-Jones receives the key that will unlock the mystery of her past... and her distrusting heart. Review: “I told my wife to move this book to the top of her reading list... This titanic story is more interesting than the one told in the Titanic movie... She will absolutely love it.”



By Mary Dodge Allen

2022 Christian Indie Award winner, First Place – Mystery Suspense

While Roxy Silva is working her hometown mail route, a sinkhole opens up and drains a retention pond, uncovering the car used in her husband’s murder. Determined to solve the cold case, Roxy turns amateur sleuth, using her amazing photographic memory. Her relationship with handsome detective Kyle grows closer as they uncover shocking secrets. When the killer takes Roxy captive, she must use her wits to survive. “Suspense, humor, rapier wit, and a heaping helping of warmth and unexpected plot twists. We loved it!” Pages & Paws – 5-Star Book Review




By Vickie McDonough

Brooks Morgan’s weapon of choice is his smile. He’s smart, witty, and has charmed his way through life, but now that he’s growing older—and a bit wiser—and he’s ready to settle down. He gets his chance when he wins Raven Creek Ranch in a poker game, but when he goes to claim his prize, a pretty woman with a shotgun says the ranch belongs to her. Brooks isn’t leaving his one chance to make something of his life—but neither is she. Can they reach an agreement? Or will a greedy neighbor force a showdown, causing them both to lose they want most in life?




By Suzanne Norquist, et al

4 Love Stories Are Quilted Into Broken Lives

“Mending Sarah’s Heart” By Suzanne Norquist

Rockledge, Colorado, 1884

Sarah doesn’t need anyone, especially her dead husband’s partner. With four brothers to mentor her boys and income as a seamstress, she seeks a quiet life. If only the Emporium of Fashion would stop stealing her customers and the local hoodlums would leave her sons alone. When she rejects her husband’s share of the mine, his partner Jack seeks to serve her through other means. But will his efforts only push her further away?


“Bygones” by Mary Davis

Texas, 1884

Drawn to the new orphan boy in town, Tilly Rockford soon became the unfortunate victim of a lot of Orion Dunbar’s mischievous deeds in school. Can Tilly figure out how to truly forgive the one who made her childhood unbearable? Now she doesn’t even know she holds his heart. Can this deviant orphan-train boy turned man make up for the misdeeds of his youth and win Tilly’s heart before another man steals her away?




By Michelle Shocklee

After a longtime resident at Nashville’s historic Maxwell House Hotel suffers a debilitating stroke, Audrey is tasked with cleaning out the reclusive woman’s room. She discovers an elaborate scrapbook filled with memorabilia from the Tennessee Centennial Exposition. Love notes on the backs of unmailed postcards capture Audrey’s imagination with hints of a forbidden romance . . . and troubling revelations about the disappearance of young women at the exposition. Audrey enlists the help of a handsome hotel guest as she tracks down clues and information about the mysterious “Peaches” and her regrets over one fateful day, nearly sixty-five years earlier.




By Linda Shenton Matchett

Are a new life and new love possible in a country devastated by war? Barely married before she’s widowed, journalist Cora Strealer travels to England where she’s assigned to work with United Press’s top reporter who thinks the last place for a woman is on the front lines. Will she have to choose her job over her heart? A sought-after journalist, Van Toppel deserves his pick of assignments, so why did the bureau chief saddle him with a cub reporter. The beautiful rookie is no puff piece. Can he get her off his beat without making headlines…or losing his heart?




By Johnnie Alexander

A Cryptographer Uncovers a Japanese Spy Ring

FBI cryptographer Eloise Marshall is grieving the death of her brother, who died during the attack on Pearl Harbor, when she is assigned to investigate a seemingly innocent letter about dolls. Agent Phillip Clayton is ready to enlist and head oversees when asked to work one more FBI job. A case of coded defense coordinates related to dolls should be easy, but not so when the Japanese Consulate gets involved, hearts get entangled, and Phillip goes missing. Can Eloise risk loving and losing again?