Monday, March 28, 2011

READ AN EXCERPT FROM...Throw The Devil Off The Train by Stephen Bly

Throw The Devil Off The Train


“Is he dead?” The high-pitched voice whined.
     “If he isn’t,” came a low rumble, “I could fix that.”
     “I ain’t killin’ no man over a saddle.”
     “And a gun. He’s got one of them new Colt revolvers.”
     “I still ain’t killin’ no man over a saddle and a gun.”
     “I bet he has a bag of gold on him.” The lower voice had the power of a salesman on a slow day. “He’s as dirty as a prospector.”
     “He ain’t as dirty as us.”
     “Suppose he does have gold. Would it be alright to kill him then?”
     The high-pitched bleat continued. “How much gold you reckon he has?”
     “At least a couple twenty-dollar gold coins.”
     “Maybe you’re right. For forty dollars, why cain’t I just hit him over the head with this fence post?”
     “If you don’t knock him clean out, I’ll have to shoot him.”
     “You got a gun?”
     “I’ll use his.”
     “Okay, but you do the shootin’. I ain’t shot nobody since the war.”
     “Maybe he is dead. Shorty said he’d been laying there on his saddle without movin’ since daybreak.”
     The whiner seemed hesitant. “If he’s such easy pickin’s, why didn’t Shorty clean him out?”
     “Maybe he did.”
     “In the middle of the day? Who sleeps in the train yard in the middle of the day?”
     “Old man Ticcado did. He was sound asleep right smack dab on the tracks.”
     “He was crazy.”
     “You have to be crazy to marry one woman when you was still married to another.”
     “Well, it didn’t work out too bad.”
     “What? He got run over by a train.”
     “Yeah, but they sent half to one wife and half to the other.”
     “I say it’s goin’ to be simple. I’ll reach for the revolver. If he raises up, you clobber him with the fence post.”
     “You got any whiskey? I could bust a skull better if I had me some whiskey.”
     “We’ll have plenty of whiskey when we pick him clean. You ready?”
     “I reckon.”
     “I’ll just reach down here nice. . .and. . .slow,” the low voice whispered, “. . .and. . .stop!” The last word was a shout.
     “Stop? He ain’t raised up.”
     “Don’t hit him.”
     “Is he dead?”
     “I don’t think so. He’s got one eye open and a saddle pistol shoved in my belly.”
     Race Hillyard opened his other eye. An unshaved man with matted hair and a tattered brown suit hovered over him. “Tell your pal to put down the post,” Hillyard growled.
     “Put down the post, Cuke. You heard him.”
     The little man with a big, black mustache jumped back, but held onto the broken piece of four-by-four.
     Hillyard shoved the first man so hard, he tumbled to the dry dirt of the train yard. “Is there any reason why I shouldn’t shoot you two? You were going to kill me.”
     The one called Cuke dropped the post. His bare toes wiggled through the holes in his boots. “Me and Willie thought maybe you was dead.”
     Hillyard backed up, but kept his gun pointed at the men. “It’s alright to steal from a dead man?”
     Willie struggled to his feet. “They don’t complain much.”
     Cuke wiped his broad nose on the back of his tattered shirt sleeve. “Don’t shoot us, mister. Times is tough. They run us out of our homes after the war and won’t give us decent jobs out here.”
     “You two Rebs?” Hillyard asked.
     Cuke threw his shoulders back. “We didn’t rebel against nothin’. We are proud veterans of the Army of Northern Virginia.”
     Hillyard shoved his saddle gun back into his bedroll. “That’s what I wanted to hear.” He reached in his coat pocket and tossed the man a coin.
     Cuke turned it over in his hand. “A silver dollar?”
     “That’s to buy dinner for both of you. I was on the losin’ side of the war, too, boys.”
     “No foolin’?” Cuke scratched his head like a dog looking for a flea. “We didn’t know that.”
     Hillyard’s glance whipped around the train yard, as if he expected another ambush. “Would it have made a difference?”
     Willie eased close enough to smell the garlic and whiskey on his breath. “To be honest, mister, probably not.” He leaned against Race’s shoulder. “These is tough times, alright. A man’s got to do what’s right for himself.”
     Hillyard felt his Colt being pulled slowly from his holster. His clenched right hand caught Willie under his narrow, pointed chin and lifted him off his feet. The gun blasted into the air, as the man slammed motionless to the dirt.
     The Colt retrieved, he turned towards Cuke, who stumbled backwards through a cloud of black powder smoke.
     “Get out of here,” Hillyard roared.
     “Eh. . .yes sir. . .I, eh, didn’t know Willie was goin’ for your gun. I reckon you want your dollar back.”
     “No, keep it and get out of here.”
     “Thank you, sir. Us southerners need to take care of each other.”
     “I’m not doing it for you. Nor the South. I figure it’s my Christian duty.”
     “Well, praise the Lord, brother.” Cuke stopped in his retreat. “Say, if I had me a twenty-dollar loan, I could go west and start all over. Could you spare. . . .?”
     Hillyard cocked the hammer of his revolver and aimed it at the man’s head.
     The man pushed up his hands. “No offense. I’m goin’.” He paused. “I reckon you’re a Baptist.”


Excerpt from Throw The Devil Off The Train
Stephen Bly 
To be released: May 1st 2011

Catherine longed to escape. . .into the arms of her fiancé Philip in Paradise, California. She’d do most anything to get there. Race had vengeful justice on his mind. . .and his body desperately needed quiet and sleep. They collided with mutual hostility as both headed west on the Omaha train. Meanwhile, can the Lord make a truce  long enough between them. . .so they can throw the devil off the train?

Throw The Devil Off The Train is in hardback and print large enough for anyone to read.

To pre-order your copy, go to . . . 
or for an autographed copy, send your mailing address & pre-order request to janet(at)blybooks(dot)com or mail to Bly Books, P. O. Box 157, Winchester, ID 83555 and we will send bill when book is mailed: Thirty dollars, includes postage & handling.

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Saturday, March 26, 2011


Bathsheba, the novel
A new novel from The Wives of King David Series
By Jill Eileen Smith

Bathsheba longs for love. 

With her husband away fighting the king’s wars, she battles encroaching loneliness–making it frighteningly easy to succumb to the advances of King David. Will one night of unbridled passion destroy everything she holds dear? Can she find forgiveness at the feet of the Almighty? Or has her sin separated her from God—and David—forever?

With a historian’s sharp eye for detail and a novelist’s creative spirit, Jill Eileen Smith brings to life the passionate and emotional story of David’s most famous—and infamous—wife. You will never read the story of David and Bathsheba in the same way again.


“Thoroughly engrossing. Jill Eileen Smith receives my highest recommendation as an author of biblical fiction.”—Kim Vogel Sawyer, award-winning author of My Heart Remembers

Bathsheba is Jill Eileen Smith’s finest work to date. It vividly portrays the devastation caused by selfish passion and betrayal, and the incredible blessing of repentance and restoration through God’s grace.”—Jill Stengl, award-winning author of Wisconsin Brides
“This well-researched and beautifully crafted story will resonate in your heart and mind long after you’ve read the final page. An excellent read with a message that transcends time.”—Judith Miller, author of the Daughters of Amana series

Thursday, March 24, 2011

COUNTRY LIFE CAPTION photo. . .by Andrea Kuhn Boeshaar

Cedar Creek Lake, Kentucky
Kentucky Rain on Cedar Creek Lake

by Andrea Kuhn Boeshaar

In 2008, my husband and I visited Stanford, Kentucky so I could research my novel Love Finds You in Miracle, Kentucky. It was July 4th and it rained that day, but we drove around town anyway. After cruising through the rural area known as Miracle, we found ourselves at Cedar Creek Lake. The rain had stopped and off in the distance, a rainbow appeared. Somehow I knew God had anointed my story.


"The Lord is my light and my salvation." Psalm 27:1

I am a firm believer that good decisions lead to happy endings. In a world filled with wounded hearts and broken lives, it's comforting to know there is hope -- and it's only a decision away.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

BOUND BY GUILT, a new novel by C. J. Darlington

Bound By Guilt
One searches for justice. One finds herself on the run.


Roxi Gold is a throwaway, shuttled from one foster home to another for most of her life. She longs for a family and will do anything to fit in – even it it’s against the law. Soon she’s traveling the country stealing rare books from unsuspecting bookstores, until a first edition of The Great Gatsby catches up with her.

Police officer Abby Dawson has seen the worst of society, and not just at at work. The job she once loved has become a chore, the world isn’t any safer, and there’s no joy in her life. One fateful night a man’s innocent blood changes both Roxi’s and Abby’s lives forever.

Will the power of forgiveness set them free, or will they both remain bound by guilt?


Sunday, March 20, 2011


Janet Chester Bly

You can counterfeit peace. A false peace. Such as what comes in bottles. Or other altered states of mind, body, spirit. Or when you risk your life on iffy information...from suspect or amateur advisors.

You’ll suffer a rugged siege of finding peace, if you don’t know true peace when you have it.

Peace is not the absence of conflict. Nor freedom from stress.

Hurricane Frances
Peace is alert calm when the alarm bells ring. It’s steady perseverance in the smack center of chaos. You recognize you’ve been through stuff like this before. You can determine not to melt down. You know you’ll survive. Somehow. And you know who is in ultimate control.

Janet: Trust Me. Jesus
I’ve got a plaque on my office wall: “Janet, Trust Me. I have everything under control. ~~ Jesus.” I read it every day. I believe it. But that doesn't mean I don't want to go scream in a deep canyon on occasion due to overwhelm or frustration. It means I come back to Jesus as my center.

What’s a perfect day for you? Make a list. Just for fun.

Here’s what it would look like for me . . .
Writing at the computer for hours with no interruptions. No emergency breakdowns. No commode backing up to flood the basement.

Plus, every idea, every scene on the screen, a zinger that captivates, that refreshes, with all new slants.

Steve golfing in desert
But most of all, it would be a perfect day if my hubby was strong and well and able to do the things he loves best. . .with a good lab report.

But perfect conditions don’t guarantee personal peace.
However, Jesus does.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27


God warns about Faux Peace: Check out verses like Ezekiel 13:10

When’s a time you’ve had true peace when there was every outward indication that you should not?


Get a free download of the whole article: “31 Ways To Win The Fight For Personal Peace” at our website:


God Is Good All The Time
Get a copy of God Is Good All The Time  
from our online bookstore:  

Friday, March 18, 2011


A Devotional Guide to Cultivating a Life of Passion
By Eddie Jones and Cindy Sproles

Do you sense something vital missing from you relationship with your spouse, children and God?

Try He Said, She Said: A Devotional Guide to Cultivating a Life of Passion.

This compilation of 54 devotions includes scripture verses, space for journaling, individual prayers and words of wisdom from two of today's funniest and insightful Christian authors. This heart-warming collection of stories will inspire you to reach for the true source of joy: a life lived for and through God. These deeply personal devotions offer biblical insights and spiritual truths from the perspective of one man and one woman.

Perfect for your quiet time. 
Cindy Sproles
No matter if you are newlyweds or newly retired, this book of devotions will help you put the spark back into your love life and explore the precious relationships God desires for you.  

He Said, She Said: A Devotional Guide to Cultivating a Life of Passion touches the heart, tickles the funny bone and brings you to your knees in worship.

The concept of He Said, She Said devotions introduces the readers to looking at one scripture, from two perspectives—his and hers. A man reads the perspective of a woman suddenly grasping a new outlook on the scripture. Any woman can read the thoughts and views from a man’s perspective. The reader can then mesh the two together for a deeper and more intimate learning experience.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Fried Rattlesnake Meat
On the Trail with Stephen Bly

The first time I ate roasted rattlesnake meat, some timid soul at the table asked me, “What’s it like?”

“Tastes like chicken,” I reported.
At another time, I had the opportunity to bite into alligator tail. “What’s it taste like?” wife Janet asked.

Fried Alligator Tail
“Sort of like chicken,” I replied.

In the Old West, a cowboy’s diet consisted of chicken, beef or pork. No bona fide cowboy would choose lamb on purpose. Everything they chowed down on could be one of those three meats. If they didn’t know what it was, but it looked white-ish, they’d say, “Tastes like chicken.”

On the range, real fried chicken was rare, almost a delicacy. Biscuits, beans, and bacon (or salt pork) provided the normal fare. Getting hungry for chicken caused a few culinary innovations. Sometimes old cookie would roll the bacon in flour and batter and fry it up. The cowboy crew called it fried chicken. If a greenhorn pilgrim joined the gang at the chuck wagon and dared to say, “This ain’t chicken,” the cowboys insisted, “It’s the best fried chicken for three hundred miles.”

If you’re desperate enough, you call the phony stuff the real thing. What you call your supper out on the prairie doesn’t hurt anyone. But when it comes to spiritual truth, the results can be deadly.

One of the tests of a mature disciple of Jesus Christ is that he or she learns to detect the signs of sound doctrine and can discern the smell of deception. No matter how the teacher wraps it up with sincere sounding phrases and claims ‘it’s the real thing,’ or ‘the better thing,’ if it doesn’t ring with the freedom and simple truth that. . .it’s all about Jesus. . .flee until you hear the right voice, His voice.

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27)

Bacon ain’t chicken. Never was, never will be. And what false teachers peddle won’t keep you centered on the power and presence of Jesus Christ for your life. No matter how much fluffy flour and sweet batter they dip it in.
Fried Rattlesnake with dipping sauce

How do you determine what's true from someone trying to fool you?
Catherine longed for escape. She'd do anything to get to her fiance, Philip, a childhood friend she hadn't seen in 17 years. 
Race had his heart set on revenge and his body desperately needed sleep. These strangers head west on a long, cramped, chaotic 1880 train ride from Omaha to Sacramento. And though they hate each other on sight, somebody's got to throw the devil off the train. 

pre-order on    
Throw the Devil Off the Train (Western Standard Series) 

Saturday, March 12, 2011


God's country
Angela Breidenbach loves country living. She considers her home of Missoula, Montana, as God's country. She sent us photos for this Country Life Captions feature. 

See her horses, the view from her office, her adorable toddler grandson, and she uses her barn for a pinata party!

Chief & Spanky


Winter snows don't stop the games with our two horses, Chief, the standard sized Morgan/Pinto cross, and Spanky, the miniature class B. Spanky loves standing on the hill in the pasture and lording over his domain. Chief and Spanky will often play King of the Hill, tossing their heads and galloping around showing who is king. Spanky ends up back on the hill every time.

Office View. . .Miss Piggy

The view out my upstairs office window. It's good to work from home as a writer with these views! This is early October last year (2009) with Miss Piggy. She passed away a year ago Christmas week from a fall on the ice. I keep this photo as a beautiful memory of her. The magpies land on our horses backs all the time. They hitch a ride all over the pasture.


We've got lots of hoses to move. Our grandson takes on this task. The horses look on from the pasture as he mimics grandpa. I love watching him play outside and discover all the amazing things toddlers find. It reminds me of the joy of life.


Creative uses for barns...pinatas at parties!
My daughter, Mariah, was overseas in Thailand for 10 months. I loved my son's playfulness with the pinata. He'd lift it every time she swung the bat. It was the perfect way to bring her home since they all played so much in the barn growing up. Lots of laughter!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

UNFORGETTABLE, a new novel by Trish Perry

By Trish Perry

About Unforgettable:

Rachel Stanhope tries to see the good in everyone. But even her good graces are challenged when she meets Josh Reegan outside her Arlington, Virginia dance studio on a brisk fall morning in 1951. Admittedly, he’s attractive, but she finds his cynicism and cockiness hard to tolerate.

A hard-news journalist and former World War II Air Force pilot, Josh considers distractions like ballroom dancing frivolous wastes of time. He has yet to shed his wartime drive to defend good against evil whenever he can. Yes, Rachel’s confident nature is a refreshing challenge, but he wouldn’t tangle with her if his newspaper hadn’t roped him into covering one of her studio’s competitions in New York City.

Between Arlington and New York, between the melodrama of ballroom antics and the real drama of political corruption, between family involvement and romantic entanglement, Rachel and Josh have their hands full. The last thing either of them expects is mutual need and support. But once they stop dancing around the truth, the results are unforgettable.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011


On The Trail with Stephen Bly

I once attended an auction down at the Rocking D Ranch. A good auction for buyers. They had a little of everything up for grabs. . .tractors, saddles, fancy china, antique furniture and piano, plus a big screen TV. I ran into the ranch owner and he told me, “I’m sellin’ it all, everything from soda to hock.”
Only in the West would you hear a phrase like ‘soda to hock.’ And I reckon not one in a hundred who’ve heard the term know what it means. A hundred years ago, you couldn’t find anyone who didn’t know.

In the Old West Faro was one of the most popular gambling games. The layout’s complicated, but it’s simple to play. You bet whether the next face up card in the case will be a winner or loser. You could lose a lot in a hurry. . .or win just as quick. To keep the game fair, to eliminate cheating, the bottom card got exempted from the bet and paid nothing. The top card was called the soda. The bottom one, the hock. The expression ‘from soda to hock’ meant from the beginning to end or the whole thing.
The Bible has a similar term, not based on Faro, of course. It’s from the Greek alphabet. From Alpha to Omega denotes beginning to end. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God (Revelation 1:8).    

God is the beginning and end of all things.

So is Jesus. “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” (Revelation 22:13). He’s always existed. He’ll be there at the end too.

Meanwhile, he is the reason our sin-sick, war-torn world hasn’t self-destructed. “And in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17).  

Jesus holds all things together. Our world would explode if he stepped away. Jesus rules. From soda to hock. From Alpha to Omega.



Cowboy For A Rainy Afternoon
Available now: Cowboy For A Rainy Afternoon

Throw The Devil Off The Train
Coming May 1st, 2011: Throw The Devil Off The Train

Some Stephen Bly novels available on Kindle.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

HOW THE WORLD WORKS...Crucial Insider Info

Alan Greenspan
Janet Chester Bly

I still recall my shock when I saw former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan sit before Congress to explain his part in our global financial crisis. Greenspan told a House panel he was in a "state of shocked disbelief." He admitted making a mistake in an assumption that "banks operating in their self-interest would be sufficient to protect their shareholders and the equity in their institutions."

"(It was) a flaw in the model that I perceived is the critical functioning structure that defines how the world works." (Associated Press, 10/24/08, italics mine)

How the world works. Surely a financial expert like Mr. Greenspan should know that by now. Especially the greedy nature of the human heart.

The earth's suffered a permanent tilt. The world's mechanism is in a quagmire. Hurricanes blow. Earthquakes rock. Tsunamis sweep away thousands. Beetles attack your favorite shade trees. Kids get sick.

And ever since The Fall, we humans tend to produce our own mayhem. The planet's peopled with selfish users. Cheaters all, if given the right chance. People scam you. We're all a distortion of what God created us to be. That includes everyone in your town. Your neighborhood. Your church. Your family. It includes you. . .and me.

That's why there's wars and rumors of wars. All around you. So, you get battle weary. You aren't behind the lines. You aren't back at headquarters. You aren't across the sea in the safety of the homeland. You're on the front with bullets hissing left and right. 

Jesus knows how the world works: "Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows" (John 16:33 TLB). So did he. Those who follow Jesus deal with the real world, not a made up, make-believe, everything and everybody's okay type of mentality. We learn how to contend with brutal battlefield reality.

But it's not all war and betrayal. We praise God for gorgeous sunsets. For honest gained wealth. For fresh water and sweet, juicy oranges. For the ability to cure countless diseases. For signs of sincere, sacrificial love.

Thank Him today for every blessed moment of R&R relief. 

When did you first notice the way things really are on this planet?
Have you made your peace with life as it is? With God?
In what way do you find daily joy and contentment, in spite of it all?


Find a free download of the article, "31 Ways To Win The Fight For Personal Peace" at


God Is Good All The Time
Janet Chester Bly's book, God Is Good All The Time, is available through the Bly Books online bookstore:

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Ever Heard of a Barn Quilt? Rose McCauley's Got One. . . .

We know a number of friends who quilt. But we'd never heard of or seen a barn quilt. Rose McCauley of Kentucky sent us these photos of her own barn quilt for our Country Life Captions feature. . . .

Note from Rose:

"I live on a cattle farm in KY which isn't very far west, but I still thought you might enjoy this pic of our barn quilt. They’re becoming quite popular around here."

"This barn quilt was given to us by our three children and their spouses for Christmas, 2008. They chose a red, white  and blue pattern because their dad is a veteran. I always plant red, white and blue flowers in front of our house in the summer and fly an American flag."

Rose McCauley has two sites and
She features a book contest each month on her blog.

Rose McCauley
A Bit More About Rose:

Rose received her first fiction contract last September at the 9th annual American Christian Fiction Writers Conference in a surprise announcement by Becky Germany of Barbour Publishing.

Her novella is entitled Nick's Christmas Carol and will be in the anthology Christmas Belles of Georgia that will release in September 2011. 

Congratulations, Rose! 


Got a question about barn quilts for Rose? Click on the comment button.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

SPRINGTIME OF THE SPIRIT, new novel by Maureen Lang

Springtime of the Spirit
Springtime of the Spirit
By Maureen Lang 

The winter of an unjust war is over. A springtime of the spirit awaits. 

Germany, 1918
Four years of fighting have finally come to an end, and though there is little to celebrate in Germany, an undercurrent of hope swells in the bustling streets of Munich. Hope for peace, fairness—the possibility of a new and better tomorrow

It’s a dream come true for Annaliese Düray. Young and idealistic, she’s fighting on the front lines of Munich’s political scene to give women and working-class citizens a voice in the new government. But she’s caught off guard by the arrival of Christophe Brecht—a family friend, recently returned from the war, who’s been sent to bring her home. 

It’s the last place she wants to go. 

Christophe admires Annaliese’s passion, unable to remember the last time he believed in something so deeply. Though he knows some things are worth fighting for, he questions the cost to Annaliese and to the faith she once cherished. Especially when her party begins to take its agenda to new extremes.

As the political upheaval ignites in Munich, so does the attraction between Annaliese and Christophe. When an army from Berlin threatens everything Annaliese has worked for, both she and Christophe face choices that may jeopardize their love, their loyalty, and their very lives.

 “Beautifully written, passionate, thought-provoking. Maureen Lang weaves romance and political intrigue like no other. Not only did these characters become part of me, but their love for God and country inspired my own.”
––Tamera Alexander, best-selling author of the Timber Ridge Reflections series

A note from the author: 
Writing this book taught me some of the political ideals so many people fight either for or against haven’t changed in hundreds of years. In light of what’s happening today around the world and even here in America, this book reminded me to trust that the future is in God’s hands and to pray for His guidance in every decision—even the ones about government.

Maureen Lang
About the Author: 
Maureen Lang is the award-winning author of several novels, including The Oak Leaves, On Sparrow Hill, and most recently, The Great War series. She has won the Inspirational Readers Choice contest and a Holt Medallion Award of Merit and was a finalist for the Christy Award. Maureen lives in the Midwest with her husband and three children. 

Springtime of the Spirit can be purchased wherever books are sold or online:


Barnes and Noble

A special bonus: Whisper on the Wind, another book in Maureen Lang’s Great War Series, is available for a free Kindle download for a limited time through