Nothing quite as exciting for an author as a new book

A Plain ManHappy Thursday, readers,
There is nothing more exciting in an author’s humble life than when a new book releases. Day after day, writers sit cloistered in our offices pounding away at keyboards. Lunch in another room of the house becomes the highlight of our days. But today I’m tickled to announce my newest Amish romance is here. A Plain Man is the story of a prodigal son who comes home. Although Caleb Beachy tried the Englisch world for several years, he is a Plain man at heart. When he returns to the Amish lifestyle, he discovers there’s more to embracing his faith and reconnecting with the community than driving a horse and buggy and giving up his Levis. He struggles with his domineering father, the oppressive rules of his district and with the paralyzing guilt from past mistakes. Josie Yoder was just a girl when he left, but she’s all grown up now and still has a soft spot for Caleb. But Caleb carries enough shame and self-loathing to derail even a well-established relationship. Josie might be the love of his life, but will past sins end up destroying their fledgling romance?

I hope you’ll enjoy the story of a wounded heart finding joy, health, and healing in God’s infinite grace. Sign up for my newsletter from my website: for a chance to win one of 10 signed copies of A Plain Man on April 15th. If you’re already signed up, you’re in the drawing! For an additional chance to win, please leave me comment here on my blog!  A Plain Man is already available at CBD now and will release April 1st at Amazon and in stores. Here’s the links:

Have a great week, readers, and happy spring!! Mary


Ohio’s Role in the Civil War

Quaker and the Rebel, The

Happy Wednesday Readers! Without further ado, here is the winner of Vow Unbroken, by Caryl McAddo from last week’s drawing:  Linda Dietz. Linda, please contact me privately if I don’t get ahold of you first.

While preparing to write The Quaker and the Rebel, book one of my Civil War series of romances, I was pleasantly surprised to discover Ohio’s pivotal role. Being a northern and decidedly “Yankee” state, Ohio provided a multitude of soldiers and officers to the Union Army. Several leading generals hailed from Ohio including Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman and Philip Sheridan. Five Ohio-born officers would later serve as President of the United States. As the third most populousstate, Ohio sent 320,000 volunteers to the Union ranks, behind only New York and Pennsylvania. Since only two minor battles were fought within its borders, the state was spared the destruction suffered by Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, and Pennsylvania. However Morgan’s Raid in the summer of 1863 spread terror among the citizens. Morgan’s division of Confederate cavalry rode through southern and eastern counties until his capture in Columbiana County. My central character, Alexander Hunt, is a fictional composite of John Hunt Morgan and John Singleton Mosby, who wreaked havoc in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

Ohio also had a crucial role in the Underground Railroad. No actual railroad existed for their path to freedom and it certainly wasn’t underground. Slaves on southern plantations passed information by mouth of mouth. Guides pointing out the way were called “conductors” and homes offering hiding places were called “stations.” Most runaway slaves traveled on foot at night, often guided north by the stars on their way to Canada. Follow the “drinking gourd” became a common refrain among escaped slaves. Approximately 40,000 runaways traveled through Ohio, assisted by Quakers and others with abolitionist views in 700 safe-houses throughout the state. Once across the river in a “free” state, slaves still faced capture by bounty hunters due to the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850. My Quaker heroine, Emily Harrison, continues her clandestine Underground activities while working as a governess for a wealthy planter. What joy I had doing research close to home, and how proud I am of Ohio’s role during this turbulent period of America’s past.

Have a great week, readers!


Welcome Caryl McAdoo–win a signed copy of Vow Unbroken

Good Monday morning, readers. Today I am delightful to welcome Caryl McAdoo, a fellow Seymour Agency sibling to Home Thoughts. Caryl’s debut romance, Vow Unbroken, releases tomorrow 3-4. If you leave a comment at the end of the post, you’ll be entered in a drawing for a free copy.Caryl McAddo

Caryl, please tell us a little bit about your book: A spunky young widow hires a veteran with a bad reputation to help her get her cotton to market in Jefferson, and sparks fly—but can she marry a man without the blessing of her estranged father? Susannah Baylor believes her cotton crop is sold to a local businessman and waves goodbye to her neighbors’ wagon train. Four days later, the charlatan buyer tries to bilk her offering only half what he originally agreed to pay. Left with few choices, she reluctantly hires Henry Buckmeyer to help get both her wagons along the Jefferson Trace, the hard trail between her Northeast Texas farm and the cotton buyers at the port. It won’t matter that it’s her best crop ever if she doesn’t get a good price; she’ll be forced to sell off the land her husband and his brother left to her and the children. Henry’s reputation as a drunken lay-about is well known, and she’s prepared for insolence, but not for his irresistible good looks or gentle manner. Romance soon entwines her heart with his, but she’s made a vow to marry only with her father’s blessing, and learning Henry doesn’t really know God further complicates everything. Plenty of dangers arise on the trace—but none so difficult as the desires of her heart. Will love overcome all? Can she get her crop safely to market and sell it for enough? In this heartening and adventurous tale, Susannah’s family, fortitude, and faith are put to the ultimate test.

Sounds divine! Now I’ll tell you a little bit about this debut author: Caryl McAdoo and her husband Ron—high school sweethearts—live with four grandsons in the woods south of Clarksville, the county seat of Red River County in Northeast Texas. She enjoys four-wheeling over the 916-acre McAdoo Ranch, horseback riding, and singing the new songs God gives her. For every blessing in her life, including ten children (counting in-loves) and fourteen grand-sugars, Caryl credits her relationship with the Lord, and her heart’s desire is to glorify Him.

I asked Caryl 3 questions: What prompted you to write Vow Unbroken…what was your inspiration? Mary Sue Seymour, my agent, was my sole prompt to write VOW UNBROKEN. We met at a little East Texas writers’ conference, and she liked my writing from a sample chapter sent, but it didn’t fit her favorite genre. She told me, “If you write
me a historical Christian romance set in 1800s, I will sell it.” Reminded me of if you will build it, they will come. They did, and so did Mary Sue!  My inspiration came from a colleague’s read at our Red River Writers’ Workshop in Clarksville. The retired teacher researches and writes of this area’s rich history. He’d read about the early farmers who joined together in wagon trains to carry their harvests to market. Sounded like a hard journey for a young widow with two wagonloads of cotton who missed the train! Voila!

What to you hope your readers will take away from the story (besides pure enjoyment!) and what did you learn about yourself during the writing? I hope readers will get to the last page of VOW UNBROKEN and know how great and faithful and merciful and awesome our God is; that they will know they are closer to Him and trust Him more after reading my book. I pray every reader will take away a better understanding of how very much God loves them! From writing VOW, the Lord made it crystal clear to me that if He forgives me and the Blood has wiped my slate clean, then I’m bound to also forgive myself or I mock that precious Sacrifice at Calvary.

What are you working on now? The next Lone Star Novel HEART STOLEN is already complete and at Howard. The third of the Red River County Chronicles HOPE REBORN is more than halfway done, but I started a new contemporary novel that needed some titles as there are many writers in it. When the title THE BEDWARMER’S SON came up with this first line ‘He sold us right before he married that fancy lady from England then bought us back the next Spring.’ And refused to be forgotten, so I dropped all the rest and that is my new work-in-progress, set in 1858 and 1928. I love how a story wants to be written, won’t leave you alone! I suppose it’s Holy Spirit in me, wouldn’t you agree? He always has a purpose and I always try to listen and trust and follow where He leads!

VOWUNBROKENCOVWhere can readers find your book: 


Deeper Shopping

Readers, answer this question for a chance to win a free copy of VOW UNBROKEN: What have you faced that seemed too big to ever accomplish, but with God’s help, you surprised yourself and did it?

Drawing in one week! Good luck everyone, and have a great week. ~ Mary