Free book by Michelle Massaro!

Each month from now until March 2024, I’ll give you a link to a free book by another author. During one month of that time, my book will become free for my subscribers. Scroll down to find out more about this month’s free book: Better Than Fiction by Michelle Massaro, but as you scroll down, don’t miss other freebies and reduced prices on my books.

November 22, 2013 was a night I’ll never forget. Book launches and signings can be disappointing, even embarrassing when few attend, but this book launch was different. I was launching my book Edges of Truth: The Mary Weaver Story, in Marshalltown, Iowa. As an author, I was known to very few in the area, but Mary Weaver was a celebrity—for all the wrong reasons.

Twenty years earlier, Mary was providing childcare for a baby who had a seizure. Mary called 9-1-1 and performed CPR on the baby, but later in the day the baby died. From brain injuries. Medical experts believed Mary had to have shaken and slammed the baby during the 42 minutes she had spent with the baby that day. In time, this innocent babysitter faced charges of first-degree murder and child endangerment. The shocking case made headlines for months, then years. But while some medical experts testified against Mary, others testified in her defense. Steve Brennecke, her friend and lawyer, was convinced of her innocence and fought to prove it. Frank Santiago, a prominent reporter in the area, kept her case alive. The Mary Weaver Support Group wrote letters, ran car washes, and marched in the rain, supporting her innocence. When the unthinkable happened and all hope seemed gone, God was still working in her case.

Twenty years after the baby’s death, people came early and lined up at the door of the book launch to get in. Some had come four hours or more to buy a signed book. Mary’s family was there. Frank Santiago, the reporter, stood beside Paul Rosenberg, Mary’s appeal lawyer and traded stories with Steve. The one jury member who voted “not guilty” in her first trial also spoke to Steve. Members of the Mary Weaver support group viewed photos of their earlier activities in her behalf. The venue filled with over a hundred people who, twenty years after the baby’s death, still supported Mary. No one was going away soon. Mary, Steve and I all spoke about the amazing way God had worked in Mary’s murder case.

This month is the 10th anniversary of that momentous book launch. I count it an honor to be Mary’s friend and to be entrusted with a story that spoke to me over and over again during the two years that I gathered information from Mary and Steve, wrote the story, and brought it to print. To celebrate this special time, I’m sharing these things with all of my subscribers, including links to two of my books that are in Kindle Unlimited for the first time. Feel free to share with others and think Christmas.

Read a Thanksgiving story

“Prison Blues: A Thanksgiving Story,” a free chapter from Edges of Truth that will melt your heart and challenge you to be thankful. Can be read as a stand-alone story.

Watch the book trailer

Click anywhere on the photo to view this video.

Access information from the MaryWeaverStory website

Read book reviews, copy sharable quotes, find more of the inside story about this true story and its pathway to publication.

Get Edges of Truth: The Mary Weaver Story

  • Free on Kindle Unlimited
  • $2.99 for Kindle (price reduced 40%)
  • $11.95 for paperback (price reduced 15%)

Get I Survived! – the companion Bible Study

  • Free on Kindle Unlimited
  • $ .99 for Kindle
  • $6.95 for paperback

Now for the book by Michelle Massaro you can get for free in exchange for subscribing to her newsletter.

Novelist Meghan Townsend’s book is a stirring love story, spun from the depths of her own personal longing. In an effort to rekindle her husband’s affections, she takes up an exercise regimen and meets a charming and friendly personal trainer – who soon begins to appear in her story as the leading man. But as Meghan finds herself captivated by the passionate scenes she pens, she descends into a perilous trap of romantic fantasy – losing sight of the messy, yet genuine, love that awaits her in reality. How far will Meghan fall before discovering what lies at the heart of true love?

Michelle Massaro writes contemporary fiction soaked in grace. A Southern California native, she and her husband now proudly make their home in East Tennessee. When she isn’t busy pondering wordsmithy, this homeschooling mom enjoys board games with the family and snuggling her Pomeranian. She also loves exploring new creative hobbies like painting, resin crafting, photography, and graphic design. Fuzzy socks and a good French roast always make her happy.

Get Michelle’s book here.



Free True Thanksgiving Story for 10th Anniversary

November 22, 2023 marks the 10th anniversary of the launch of my book, Edges of Truth: The Mary Weaver Story. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the book launch for Edges of Truth and celebrate American Thanksgiving, I’m giving away this chapter from the book that will challenge you to give thanks.


Prison Blues: a Thanksgiving Challenge

Mary Weaver sat on her prison bunk and slipped a family photo from the pages of her Bible. It pictured her with her husband and two children, before she was sentenced to life in prison without parole. She caressed her red-headed son John and his blonde sister Catherine in the picture. For sixteen months she had only seen them once a week when her husband brought them to the prison visiting room.

It all started January 22, 1993 when Mary was providing childcare for 11-month-old Melissa. Mary was putting the baby’s snowsuit on when Melissa quit breathing. Mary called 9-1-1 and performed CPR until the ambulance came, but the baby died within a day. The autopsy found a two-inch skull fracture and other severe injuries that were seven to ten days old. Some doctors ignored these older injuries and believed Melissa’s death was caused by acute injuries from shaking and possibly slamming the baby just before she quit breathing. Since Mary was with Melissa during the forty-two minutes before she quit breathing, they believed Mary must have caused the fatal injuries.

Mary had never done anything to hurt Melissa but opinion on her guilt was divided. She was eventually sent to prison for murder. Her lawyers were seeking to appeal her case, but over a year had passed and they still hadn’t been able to get a new trial. Meanwhile Mary was separated from her husband and kids who were now five and six years old.

Mary felt sure God would eventually free her and clear her name. She was a Christian and she knew God would get her through prison one day at a time. But she grieved for her children and unsaved husband. Months had passed into a year and more and her children were growing up without her. She would never get those years back.

As Mary sat in her cell worrying about her family, a guard appeared at the door. “Mrs. Weaver? You got a visitor.”

Mary set her Bible aside and preceded the guard down the prison corridor. Who could this be? As she stepped into the visitor’s room Catherine skipped up to her in a pink tutu and leotard.

“Mommy, Mommy, I’m going to my dance recital! Aunt Lisa brought me so you could fix my hair.” Catherine jumped around until Mary could hardly get a hug from her.

Mary smiled her thanks at her friend, Lisa Murphy, who had figured out this creative way to include Mary in her daughter’s special occasion.

Mary drew her daughter close. “I’d love to fix your hair. Shall we do French braids?”

“Yes, yes, yes, with pink ribbons!” Catherine bounced with every word.

Mary removed ribbons and elastic bands from Catherine’s ponytail and pulled long blonde strands into sections with her fingers.

“Hold still,” she reminded her daughter as she started one braid. Mary breathed in the fruity fragrance of the superfine hair as she began to weave the strands into identical braids on either side of her daughter’s head, then tied perfect pink bows at each end.

Catherine shook her head to feel her new hairdo. “Thank you, Mommy! I can’t wait to see myself in the mirror.”

Mary surreptitiously wiped tears with one sleeve. “You look beautiful. Can you show me your dance?”

Catherine performed several ballet steps, ending with a lopsided pirouette. Mary clapped loudly. “Good job! Just remember, when you’re in that recital today, I’m going to be thinking about you.”

Catherine gazed at her mom with pleading eyes. “I wish you could come to my recital.”

Mary blinked some tears from her eyes. “Me too, sweetheart, but Aunt Lisa will take pictures and I’ll study them carefully. Just remember that your mommy is very proud of you!”

Mary gave her daughter a quick, prison-acceptable hug and watched the two walk away. Satan whispered, “You are missing her recital and all the other important moments in her life.”

Mary lifted her chin. But God allowed me to fix her hair. God gave me that precious moment. God is good.

She thought of other ways God had allowed her to mother her children as well. God had given Mary a prison job, and her wages had been raised from thirty-eight to forty-one cents an hour. So what if it was only ten percent of minimum wage? The job made her time pass more quickly, and she could use the money in the commissary or craft store. Supporters could also add twenty dollars a week to her prison account. The activities directors had been especially kind to use this money to purchase fabric and patterns for her. Mary had been able to sew outfits for the kids, paint T-shirts, and buy presents for them.

Mary returned to her cell, sat on her bunk, opened her Bible, and prayed. Lord, help me to be thankful for what I have, not to complain about what I don’t have.

A prison sentence made it easy to slide into self-pity. Unfairness could defeat her but only if she let it. Instead she thought about The Hiding Place, a prison library book she had recently read. Corrie ten Boom had hidden Jews in Holland during World War II. The Nazis had caught her and thrown her into a bitter cold prison for four months, then a women’s extermination camp in Germany. Except for her sister, who was imprisoned with her for a time, Corrie had almost no contact with her family. She and her sister existed in overcrowded, filthy cells with little regard for sanitation and little to eat. They were allowed no exercise or fresh air.

Like Mary, Corrie was unfairly imprisoned, yet Corrie’s sister challenged her to focus on what she had. Corrie accepted the challenge. In solitary confinement she hungered for human contact, but she thanked God for an ant that crawled into her cell and provided a bit of company. In one of her prison cells, for one hour a day, she could stretch herself out tall and feel the sun shine on her head and chest. She thanked God for the sunshine. Later, at the extermination camp, she slept piled on a straw-covered platform with many other prisoners, sandwiched between other crowded platforms. Fleas infested the stinking straw, but Corrie even learned to thank God for the fleas. The tiny insects kept the guards away from the overcrowded bunk, where she hid her precious Bible.

Mary closed her eyes to shut out the conversation of the other inmates lounging right outside her cell. Her prison cell was the Ritz Carlton compared to the ones in the book. “Thank you, Lord, that my family is safe and that I can see them every week. Thank you that I have other gals to talk to. You’ve even given me a roommate who seems to be a true Christian. Thank you that I can feel safe in prison, that other inmates haven’t given me trouble, that the guards treat me with respect. Thank you that I have a Bible and I can read it openly, whenever I want. Thank you that I’ve grown closer to you in prison.”

The State had stolen her family. The first year they seized all her possessions, even her clothes. Only now they allowed her to keep a few things of her own. The State could separate her from her home and family, but they couldn’t take God away from her and they couldn’t take her away from God. She would focus on him and the things she was allowed to enjoy. Today that meant fixing her daughter’s hair for a special occasion.

Get Edges of Truth: The Mary Weaver Story here

  • Free on Kindle Unlimited
  • $2.99 for Kindle (price reduced 40%)
  • $11.95 for paperback (price reduced 15%)

 Get I Survived! – the companion Bible Study here

  • Free on Kindle Unlimited
  • $ .99 for Kindle
  • $6.95 for paperback




I like to think of this meme as a step of faith instead of a broken promise.

I planned my New Beginning series, Books 1-3, a few years ago. The books would feature Americans partnering with New Zealanders in church planting ministry. I wrote a pretty good rough draft of all three books, one right after another. During the tightened restrictions of Covid in 2020, I worked with a designer to create covers for all three. All was going according to plan. Short Poppies released in September of 2021. Give It a Go released September of 2022. So even though we were planning a six-month furlough starting in November 2022, I posted a meme announcing Pop In for a Cuppa was “coming in 2023!” I didn’t see any reason I couldn’t release this book by the end of 2023. After all, at that point I had it all written in fairly good shape and just needed to fill in some things and give it a final polish.

That was before we located a potential local pastor and wife who could take over our mission ministry in 2023. And before we knew that 2023 would be a pivotal, transition year when we would leave our church planting ministry of 25 years in New Zealand to begin our transition to retirement in America.

During this transition, in the last 7 months of 2023 we would need to:

  • Return from a busy furlough in America
  • Pass on all the ministry responsibilities we are currently doing at our church, a bit at a time
  • Work out the details of an employment contract for the church’s first salaried pastor
  • Sell our house, car, furniture and most of our household goods
  • Say goodbye to all our New Zealand friends, not knowing if we will ever see them again
  • Return to America, ready to spend Christmas with our family

After all that we will have to buy a house and make big changes in practically every part of our life. But I’ll save that for 2024.

Back to my book 3, Pop In for a Cuppa. Announcing its release in 2023 was a step of faith for me.

Some people think that a step of faith means I have the faith, so God will deliver. If he doesn’t, either I’m a failure or He is. But I don’t see it that way. Faith isn’t about manipulating God to do my will. To me, a step of faith is just that. One step. I don’t know what the outcome will be, but as I take each step I think God has for me, I ask the Lord to lead me forward into His will for my life.

So I had planned to publish Pop In for a Cuppa in 2023, but God had a better plan. A plan for our church, our retirement, our family. Working with a new pastor and winding up our 25 years of our current ministry became more important than releasing my book on schedule in 2023.

God’s timing is always right. I now plan to publish Pop In for a Cuppa in 2024, but only God knows the future. As far as I can see, retirement should be a time when I can devote more time to write, publish, and promote my books—along with different kinds of ministry and much more time with family. It will be a different season of life for me.

Since I began writing for Christian publication since 1979, I’ve gone through many seasons of life. Some seasons of life I had more time to write than others, but God has given me opportunities to write throughout that whole time. Maybe you’re in a season of life when you have dreams, but not the time or resources to pursue them. If God is really leading you to do these things, he will show you the way.

In the past few months, I’ve been claiming this promise from God. “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me.” (Psalm 138:8 NIV) What plans have you put on hold because your present season of life doesn’t allow you to pursue it? Have you given those plans to God? What can you rejoice in during your current season of life?

As I began to communicate with Ruth Whong a few months ago, I found several things we have in common.

  • Ruth grew up in Hong Kong and Taiwan. My husband and I served as missionaries to Taiwan for sixteen years.
  • Ruth is a pastor’s wife, and so am I. She and her husband served together at three churches from 1987 to 2020. My husband and I served in a couple of churches in Taiwan from 1980 to 1996 and have now served in our current New Zealand church since 1998.
  • Of course, we’re both writers. Both of our husbands encourage our writing ministries.

Ruth’s pathway to publishing novels went down different roads than mine did. Ruth works for a small biotech company and has published 120+ scientific books and papers (under a different name). She’s a latecomer to creative writing, but has published four books in the last two years. The Way We Forgive is loosely based on events in Ruth’s life but is written like fiction. Her recent release, Blazing China, reached Amazon’s #1 new release in Asian Literature in August.

During her husband’s last sabbatical, he and Ruth worked as volunteers at the Garden Tomb. She has incorporated her experiences there into Love at the Garden Tomb.  This book takes place at the same time as The Way We Forgive.

You can get this contemporary Christian romance for free when you sign up for her newsletter here.

Lily Young is content to leave love to others more qualified. Betrayed and kicked out of her family home in Taiwan at sixteen, she can’t afford to get hurt again.

Josh Ying has his own share of life’s adversities. Growing up in Hong Kong with a sick older brother, he is the invisible child until he makes a bold demand that leads to a dire consequence.

Constant interactions at Ohio State University bring two desolate souls together. Yet personal hardship and circumstances beyond their control, plus unresolved guilt and resentment, scatter them in different directions.

Years later, they run into each other again at the Garden Tomb in Israel. Under the spell of the Jerusalem Syndrome (a set of mental phenomena that involves religious, psychosis-like experiences), will they jeopardize their hearts again?

Get your free book here.

Last week we bought our first one-way ticket away from New Zealand. For 25 years we’ve come and gone, but always with return tickets in hand.

These days we bask in the beauty of spring as daffodils, rhododendron, and magnolias burst into bloom two blocks from our home, in 200-acre Queen’s Park. This marks our last New Zealand spring.

I realize now that I have seen many of my friends in this country for the last time. We never said goodbye because the last time I saw them, I didn’t know I’d probably never see them again, this side of eternity.

In July we celebrated our last International Day in our church. In a couple of weeks, we’ll have our last Teen Camp. Yesterday I bought the kitchen bin liners with 15 in the package instead of 50 because we should only need 15. In 15 weeks we’ll be boarding our plane for America, leaving New Zealand for possibly the last time.

Recently we had our preliminary garage sale, consulted with our real estate agent, and are tidying things up around the house. We pray for a good sale that will prepare us to buy a retirement home in Iowa, ten thousand miles or so away. But we’re not ready to say goodbye to 25 years of life in this home, in this town, serving this church. Our departure date of our tickets is 3 ½ months away and 3 ½ months is far too long to be saying goodbye.

God is good. Our church is peaking out at its highest attendance, necessitating a move from the auditorium to our small gym, to have enough room for everyone to sit. Funds have come in to help our church move from mission status to supporting its first local pastor. This month Kiwi pastor, Paul Gray, will come on paid staff, preparing to become the main pastor while we prepare to leave. The timing is perfect and we see God’s provision everywhere.

Sunday Art choked up in the pulpit and Pastor Paul had to come read Scripture for him. Not yet. Not now. I’m not ready for emotional goodbyes more than 3 months before departure. I tell our friends that, but goodbyes will come soon enough.

While flowers are in full bloom in Invercargill, New Zealand, we’ll fly back to snow-packed Iowa for Christmas. Christmas plus. This time we won’t be visiting America. We’ll be learning how to live as Americans again, with all the changes that will bring. And for the first time in this millennium, we will live close to our children and grandchildren. We’ll begin the process of retirement and enter a new season life where we will continue to minister, but not in a fulltime capacity. We’ll live closer to our siblings who are all older than us and facing some of the physical challenges of passing 70.

So much of our lives will change, but the Lord promises to go before us and prepare the way, as he has been doing for us for nearly 7 decades. Proverbs 3:5-6 is such a great reassurance at times like this. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

 I hope you know the Lord Jesus as your personal Savior. If you want to know more about what this means, go to our church website under Plan of Salvation. Or you can contact me through my website. I hope you have experienced God’s guidance throughout your life. What transitions are you facing today?

In today’s Book Blast I’m featuring best-selling novelist Robin Lee Hatcher. Author of over 85 books, Robin is known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. Robin is an eleven-time finalist and two-time winner of the prestigious RITA® Award. In addition to the RITA and many other awards, she is the recipient of Lifetime Achievement Awards from both Romance Writers of America® and American Christian Fiction Writers. When not writing, she enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, Bible art journaling, reading books that make her cry, watching romantic movies, and decorative planning. A mother and grandmother, Robin makes her home on the outskirts of Boise, sharing it with a demanding Papillon and a persnickety tuxedo cat.

You can read Robin’s 24-page short story for free when you sign up for her newsletter. My husband grew up in Montana, and Montana has been our furlough home for 45 years. Art spent many hours picking (and eating) huckleberries growing up and he loves huckleberry pie so “The Huckleberry Patch” sounds like his kind of place.

Her life was a complete mess, but Aunt Dodie thought a morning picking huckleberries was the solution. How could that help anything? But there were lessons awaiting her in the huckleberry patch, if she just had eyes to see and the ears to hear.

If you want to know more about Robin, visit her website.

But you can also get this free story here.


Free book by T.K. Chapin!

Each month from now until March 2024, I’ll give you a link to a free book by another author. During one month of that time, my book will become free for my subscribers. Scroll down to find out more about this month’s free book.

New Pagan Influences  in a Country Once Considered Christian

In the past month, while I was teaching about Moses and Egypt in Discovery Club, I needed to deal with another pagan culture. Though I’m an American, I’ve lived in Taiwan for sixteen years and now New Zealand for 25 years. In many ways, Kiwi (New Zealander) life is much like life in America. When it is different, that difference is often because New Zealand shares many aspects of British culture. Maori culture is also a major contributor of the culture.

Maori are the indigenous Polynesian people, descended from settlers who arrived in New Zealand by canoe in the 1300’s. Europeans didn’t settle in New Zealand to any degree before the 1800’s. Today, less than 20% of the population identifies as Maori, and most of them are not pure Maori. For years, Maori culture wasn’t emphasized in New Zealand, and some aspects of it were getting lost. In recent years, however, there has been a revival in Maori culture and students study cultural aspects in school, as well as learn to speak native Te Reo words.

The Maori culture emphasizes the importance of family and loyalty. Along with these admirable qualities, however, are spiritual beliefs that are contrary to the Bible beliefs of Christians. Public school students are taught the ancestral stories in their earliest years. Matariki (Maori New Year) became a national holiday in 2022 and this June or July holiday is now being emphasized throughout New Zealand.

Christians can use the holiday to thank our God for the stars and calling them out each night. But Kiwi Christians need to be discerning, because Maori culture has many pagan and religious elements. During Matariki, people are encouraged to pray to the stars, offer food to them, and ask them for guidance. This is animism, a worship of spirits within nature. Some even offer food to their ancestors or gods. When we lived in Taiwan, we often saw our neighbors worship the spirits and the ancestors in these same ways. Some Maori mix worship to the God of the Christians with forms of worship to others gods or ancestors. Twelve times God says in the Bible, “I am God and there is no other.”* These verses show us that mixing worship of false gods with worship of the one True God is not acceptable to the God of the Bible.

This is an issue that I’ve faced in my ministry this month. Where do you see pagan elements creeping into your culture today?

For more about Maori elements taught in school in New Zealand and a Christian parent’s response see my article.

For more about ways Christians can celebrate Matariki see my article.

Today I’m featuring Author TK Chapin.

T.K. Chapin is the pen name for Ben Chapin. He uses the initials “T.K.” because he writes Christian romance which is mostly dominated by women. Ben lives with his wife and three children in Southern Idaho. In 2023, he lost his biggest fan when his father, a great man of God, suddenly passed away. Ben says, “Before this tragedy touched my life I only hoped and believed God would comfort me and hold me together. Now I know He does. He is so good even when it hurts.”

A few years ago, I really enjoyed reading Ben’s book Amongst the Flames, a love story between a firefighter and his wife in which trust has been broken.  I would describe his “faith-filled fiction” as distinctively Christian. Which I love. In this book his characters read the Bible, pray and see the need for church. He earned my respect for that. Though I expect to see some mention of these in Christian fiction, sometimes all three are missing.

T.K. is the author of 63 books, which tells you he’s been busy! At one time, he was producing a new book every couple of months. Last year, however, after eight years of writing full time, he returned to his secular job.

Get this book free for subscribing to T.K.’s newsletter.

When Broken Roads Lead Home

Discover the heartwarming story of Natalie and Jacob in “When Broken Roads Lead Home,” a clean and faith-filled Christian romance novel. Join these two characters as they navigate the challenges and joys of life while rediscovering their faith and falling in love. This inspiring story is sure to encourage your own faith and remind you of the beauty of God’s love. Download it now for free and get ready to be swept away in a gripping tale of hope, love, and redemption.

Get this book free by subscribing to T.K.’s newsletter.

 Find out more about T.K. here.   

 *You can find the basic words, “I am God and there is no other,” in these places: Deuteronomy 4:35, 4:39; 1 Kings 8:60; Isaiah 44:80, 45:5-6; 45:14, 45:18, 45:22, 46:9; Joel 2:27; Mark 12:32.