Are You Content within Your Circle of Friends & Family, Proverbs 27:7-11
A person who is full tramples on a honeycomb, but to a hungry person, any bitter thing is sweet. A man wandering from his home is like a bird wandering from its nest. Oil and incense bring joy to the heart, and the sweetness of a friend is better than self-counsel. Don’t abandon your friend or your father’s friend, and don’t go to your brother’s house in your time of calamity; better a neighbor nearby than a brother far away. Be wise, my son, and bring my heart joy, so that I can answer anyone who taunts me. Prov 27:7-11 (HCSB)
What is the value of your Circle of Friends and Family Members?
There comes a time in one’s life when being content within your circle of friends and family members is not only proper but healthy! There comes a point when we need to reinforce and build upon the relationships we have in our life, rather than build upon the reach and number of relationships. There comes a point where the “law of diminishing returns” occurs in our affiliations. There may be a large universe of people that we get to make contact with and know, but they are but acquaintances by affiliations, but they are not friends or family that you know well enough to depend upon. Even Jesus had a lot of people He influenced and touched, but He also had his selected disciples, and even whittled them down to His “inner circle” of 12, with only three special disciples that He entrusted with the most intimate concerns of His ministry. Then He also had His family, and even while He was ministering, not all His brothers were real close. Eventually, James and Jude, two of His brothers would become special to Jesus and carry forward His mission of building the Church but evidently not until after Jesus was gone.
We too should be aware of the need to keep a close circle of friends and family members, and not try to be friends and confidants with too large a number of people. We should be friendly, but understand being friends is different. Build strong, healthy, reliable friendships beginning with our close family members, spouses, and special people we desire to truly call our friend.
How do you know who to invest your time and life with? Well, consider who you would trust in a time of real crisis. Who would cover your back, walk side-by-side with you, and look you eye-to-eye to encourage you when things get really tough? Who would share the risk with you in the midst of the storm? Those few are the ones you can call a friend, and are worthy of your most valuable time and effort. They are interested in you, and not about promoting their agendas and interests upon you.
Likewise, do you reciprocate the friendship commitment? Do you share that “phileo” (brotherly) love bond with your declared friends? Will you cross over from the safety of the shore to rescue your friend? Will you be willing to share the risk with your friend?
Warning: if you are always looking for contentment in your relationships, and you cannot find the kind of friend that you can be comfortable with as a close friend, maybe the discontent is not an outward problem, but an inward problem. Very likely, you cannot be content with others because you are unsettled within yourself. Remember the Lord declares that we must love others, as we love ourselves! Thus, we can never love others until we love ourselves as God accepts and loves us. So where would you begin? Begin getting comfortable seeking God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word, and you will begin building a friendship with God, and He will reciprocate with you. That will help you learn how to love yourself and be able to a friend to others.
“What a friend we have in Jesus, He is the only friend we truly need!” Why? He teaches us how to be a friend so we can learn to recognize a true friend and build that “phileo” or brotherly (sisterly) love bond with a true friend.
SHILOH MYSTERY SERIES UPDATE AND LINKS:
Update: Visit TMBrownAuthor.com to see how these values play out in the creation of Shiloh Mystery Series: Sanctuary, A Legacy of Memories, Testament, An Unexpected Return, and the latest and last story in the series, Purgatory, A Progeny’s Quest. Family and friendships are not measured or valued by words but actions and attitudes. Follow the travails of Theo Phillips and his wife Liddy as they settle in for what they had hoped to be a peaceful retirement in little old time-lost Shiloh, but God has other plans for them in each of the three stories… T. M. Brown
You can also go to Hearthstone Press to find out how to order your own copy of the Shiloh Mystery Novels.
“Have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them.” — Exodus 25:8, NIV
Until three years ago, the former Adams County Courthouse had proudly stood since the Civil War as the landmark in Shiloh. After the powers-to-be transferred the county seat to Alexandria during the Depression, the majestic edifice underwent renovation to appease the folks in Shiloh and became the town’s city hall. The elegant lady had worn her nostalgic brick and stone exterior well, but the makeover had been superficial.
Questions have lingered since city officials reported the fire as accidental, cause unknown.
A prolonged Indian summer gripped Georgia. Though already the first Sunday of November, hot and humid weather more suitable for early September caused sweat to trickle unabated down my neck dampening the collar of the fresh cotton polo I had just yanked over my head. The moving truck had pulled away while Liddy patiently watched from her passenger window. I walked up the sidewalk one last time and locked the front door of the colonial brick suburban house we had called home for the past seven years.
I jumped into the driver’s seat, buckled up, squeezed the hand of my wife of forty years, and then reached for the gear shift. “Any regrets?”
Liddy raised her window and turned her gaze straight ahead as a silly smirk appeared. “Nope, Let’s roll! We’ve got a moving truck to meet in Shiloh tomorrow.”
My foot slid from the brake to the accelerator, and our Expedition jolted forward with the packed trailer in tow. Liddy stared straight ahead for the first few minutes. She caressed the manila envelope stuffed with photos, brochures, and paperwork about the house we contracted to purchase for our retirement, but soon dozed off after we turned south onto US Highway 19. I settled in for the long afternoon drive to our destination an hour below Albany.
The all-too-familiar gated communities and shopping centers under Atlanta’s ever-present shadow faded in my rearview mirror. I snapped a farewell salute as we passed Cornerstone Books where I served as chief publishing editor until one week ago. The historic highway narrowed as the scenic panorama of autumn colors revealed more and more farms, fields and forests along the landmark route.
Liddy stirred long enough to adjust her position and place a small pillow between her head and the window. Glancing at her as she fell back to sleep jogged my memory of the first day my eyes fell upon her on the Athens campus forty years ago. My smile over the memory faded when I glanced at the stranger in the rearview mirror. Gray had infiltrated my dirty blonde hair, and crow’s feet pointed to sagging eyelids. After an extended sigh, I reminded myself that I no longer was that spirited undergrad Liddy first met, but a second glance at Liddy returned a grin to my wrinkled face.
When Liddy first suggested early retirement, I turned a deaf ear. Undeterred, she persisted. “Theo Phillips, it’s high time you realized that you can afford to do what you’ve always wanted. Walk away from that job you’ve grown to resent and invest the time to write your own stories as you’ve always envisioned?”
Once my hard head embraced the idea, Liddy wasted little time. She arranged the sale of our home, scoured a mountain of listings, made countless phone calls, and endured long day trips, while I fulfilled my promise to my boss and worked until the end of October. Liddy strutted about the day our home landed an eager buyer, and the following evening methodically spread a collection of photos on the kitchen table of a picturesque, historic home located in a South Georgia town aptly named Shiloh. Not far from our childhood hometowns, the pictures brought back fond memories for both of us. We both felt God had answered our prayers when a day later we received acceptance of our cash offer.
On the outskirts of Albany, Liddy stirred and wiped her eyes as the late afternoon sunlight glistened between the treetops. She cleared her throat and lowered her sunglasses from the top of her head. Surveying the passing scenery, she asked with a drawn-out sigh. “Where are we?”
I pointed to a well-timed road sign. “Albany’s 30 more miles. Reckon we’ll arrive in Shiloh a little before six.” The news earned a smile as she stared back out the window.
Liddy soon turned with a curious grin. “What were you thinking about while I was asleep?”
Without losing my focus on the road, I said, “How lucky I was to have stolen the heart of the prettiest girl that ever graced the Athens campus.”
Liddy giggled. “I feel the same about you.”
We soon turned onto the Flint River Highway, the homestretch leg of our journey. The amber glow grew darker as the sun disappeared below the distant treetops.
Liddy bit her lower lip and clenched my hand. “Do you think we did right? I mean… buying this house and leaving Peachtree?”
A chuckle erupted first. “Hun, I’ve no doubt that the vetting process you orchestrated selecting this house removed any reservations I might have clung onto about my retirement or our decision to pack up and move to Shiloh.”
Her cheeks glowed. “Me neither, but I wanted to be certain you weren’t merely trying to appease me. I’m truly looking forward to sinking deep roots and making a slew of friends.”
My wink brought a smile to Liddy’s relieved lower lip. “You’re right,” she said. “But how well do you think we’ll fit in?”
“Trust me. A town like Shiloh won’t allow us to remain anonymous long.”
Liddy laughed and agreed that Shiloh would be like the small towns we remembered growing up, where even strangers passing through town were addressed as “friend” or “neighbor,” and names were exchanged during a hearty handshake or hug.
Liddy eyed a distant weathered barn donning a rusted tin roof. “We must be getting close.”
She begged me to stop when we passed an abandoned mansion with discolored columns and rickety shutters no longer protecting shattered windows. With critters and termites likely the only tenants, I convinced her we should save a close-up inspection for another day. Plantation oaks with dangling moss lined the rest of the way into Shiloh. The Expedition’s automatic headlamps attacked the growing dark shadows and distant lights welcomed us into town.
On Main Street, Liddy urged me to slow well below the speed limit as we drove into the center of town. She pointed out the quaint drugstore, barbershop, and the other storefronts surrounding the town square. We reminisced about fifty-cent Saturday matinees as we rolled past the movie theater with its illuminated marquee. In fact, Shiloh revealed family-owned shops and businesses, a fading memory in most small towns throughout the South.
The Chamber of Commerce brochure depicted a majestic, antebellum, red-brick courthouse anchoring the center of Shiloh. Instead, we discovered a newly constructed brick and granite city hall with a grand portico and well-lit main entrance. Decorative red-brick walkways cut through manicured lawn and meticulous gardens. As we crept along, Liddy pointed to an illuminated, life-like bronze statue of a young man at one corner of the town square.
“I wonder who he was?” Liddy asked. “He looks so young. There’s nothing in the literature about it.”
I managed a shrug as I searched for the street that led to our house. The word SOLD stood out on the Arians Real Estate sign in the front yard of our corner property. Liddy left little doubt about her eagerness to show me more of the house, but darkness, the growl of our stomachs and fatigue begged otherwise. A couple of blocks further into the quiet neighborhood, Liddy exchanged smiles with two red-haired girls playing out front of one of the elegant mansions among other comparable homes at that end of Calvary Street.
Shiloh’s unified school complex at the southern end of town brought back memories of our school days. The buildings and grounds appeared recently renovated. The football stadium and athletic fields behind the school appeared larger than one would expect for a town of Shiloh’s size.
Once I turned back onto Main Street, flickering yellow and blue neon lights identified our destination for the night, the Shiloh Motel. “Thank goodness! I’m so ready to crawl out from under this steering wheel. Not to mention, I’m famished.”
Liddy lowered her window. “Hey, look next door, Bubba’s BBQ. Sure smells good too.”
Inside the motel office, a silver-haired woman dressed in a blue and white flowered frock eyed us as she slurped down the last of her drink, managing a warm smile at the same time. She yanked off her makeshift paper towel bib, dabbed her cheeks, moments before she wriggled out of her armchair. A sauce-stained, white porcelain platter next to her chair held remnants of her dinner, a couple of ketchup ladened fries alongside a neat stack of sucked-clean rib bones. With a flick of her remote, she muted Aunt Bea from Andy of Mayberry. She adjusted her dress as she approached with contagious smile that made us respond likewise, but her shrill greeting we’d never forget.
“Welcome, folks to Shiloh. Y’all mus’ be Mista an’ Missus Phillips. We’ve been expectin’ y’all.”
Liddy froze but managed an abbreviated nod. I continued up to the counter, choking off an escalating chuckle. Instead, I feigned a cough before greeting the jovial hostess with a suitable grin.
“I’m Barb, Barb Patterson. Me and my husband Bubba are the proud owners of the best motel and barbecue restaurant in Shiloh.” Her cheeks flushed as her fingers sought to stifle her cackle.“Oh, me. Oh, my. The truth is, we own the only motel and barbecue restaurant in town.” A burst of self-indulgent belly laughter followed.
“Well, Barb, thanks for such a pleasant greeting,” I managed to say after snickering at first. “We’re glad to be here after our long drive.” I nudged Liddy. “I’m Theo, Theo Phillips, and this is Liddy, my wife. I believe the two of you spoke this morning.”
“Y’all mus’ be plum tuckered out.” Her fingers flitted in the direction of my hand reaching for my wallet. “You can keep your wallet in your pants pocket for now.” She slid a registration form and pen in front of me. “Please sign right here. We’ve got our best room reserved for you. We’ll deal with the formalities in the morning.”
I pointed to our name and new address already filled in as I slid the signed form back to her. “Thanks, but how’d you know?”
Barb muffled another high-pitched cackle. “Honey, Mista Nick is not just the realtor in town but also a dear friend and regular customer. He stopped by for lunch and told us all about you and that y’all are buying Miss Betty Priestly’s old home.” She stared at Liddy’s raised brow. “Hun, everyone in Shiloh knows the Priestly house. Y’all sure are getting a mighty special home.” She pulled the form from the counter. “Will you need one or two keys.”
I showed her one finger and received a brass key with the number 10 stamped on it.
Liddy’s composure returned. She reached out to thank our capricious but jovial hostess. Barb received Liddy’s hand. “Hun, if you need anything, just dial the desk. It’s a genuine pleasure to be the first to welcome y’all to Shiloh.”
“Thank you, Miss Barb. We’re glad to be here too.” After Barb released Liddy’s hand, Liddy asked, “How late is the restaurant open?”
“Just hold one second.” Barb lifted the receiver of her yellow rotary phone, dialed and tapped her cherry red fingernails on the counter. “Cecil? The Phillips just checked in, and they’s mighty hungry. Will you take special care of ‘em? Maybe seat ‘em at one of the winda’ tables? …Thanks, Ceec. You’re a doll.” Barb hung up and looked at Liddy. “Miss Liddy, y’all are all set. Hope y’all are hungry. Bubba’s ribs are ‘specially good tonight.”
Liddy smiled and glanced at Barb’s empty platter. “Thank you, Barb. We’ll be sure to give those ribs a try. We haven’t eaten since we left Peachtree.”
A tall, silver-haired African-American gentleman approached us with a broad, toothy grin as soon as we walked into Bubba’s BBQ. His white bib apron wrapped comfortably around his slim frame allowing him to tie it in the front. A damp towel draped over his shoulder and provided clear evidence of his busy day.
“Y’all mus’ be the Phillips. Welcome to Bubba’s. My name’s Cecil, and that’s Bubba over there.”
Cecil then turned his head and yelled. “Bob, say hello to the newest folks in town, the couple Mista’ Nick spoke about this afta’noon.”
Bubba, a rotund man with graying dark hair, raised his free hand and shared a sweaty smile but returned to tending the carousel of meat rotating over the smoke pit.
The table Cecil offered us provided a clear view of Main Street. Liddy and I handed the menus right back without opening them.
“Barb recommended Bubba’s ribs. How about two platters with sweet tea?”
Cecil affirmed our choice with an appreciative nod before he headed towards the kitchen and yelled, “Two more ribs.”
Liddy and I soon were ready to bust and shoved our near empty plates aside. When Cecil inquired about dessert, Liddy raised her hands and shook her head.
After we paid for the meal and expressed our appreciation to Cecil and Bubba, we decided to stretch our legs and walked into the center of town. Liddy found a bench next to the brick walkway and admired the unique architecture of Shiloh Baptist Church across the street. My interest fell upon the illuminated bronze statue we saw earlier.
JESSIE MASTERSON, BELOVED COACH AND TEACHER, SACRIFICED HIS LIFE SAVING THE LIVES OF TWO OTHERS THE NIGHT OUR HISTORIC COURTHOUSE BURNED TO THE GROUND, DECEMBER 8, 2010.
I stood arms crossed allowing my thoughts to conjure the possible bigger story that earned this young hero such recognition. Liddy walked up and clutched my elbow, disrupting my thoughts. Her weary eyes told me it was time to head back to the motel. Before we left, I peered over my shoulder at Jessie Masterson and then said, “I was thinking… what a tragic tale that memorial represents. My instincts tell me I should try to learn more about that young man. What do you think?”
Liddy squeezed my hand and winked.
Begin the journey to Shiloh with Theo & Liddy; get your copy of Sanctuary, A Legacy of Memories, go to: T. M. Brown’s Bookstore
Let us not become weary when doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
When things are going well we should feel like nothing can stop us from continuing to do good. But, what happens when doing what is right and good becomes hard, and others are watching? Will you remain steadfast and NEVER NEVER NEVER QUIT or buckle under the burden?
What happens to our enthusiasm when we receive the recognition we feel we deserve for doing good?
What about when choosing to do good means you may be the only one doing it?
No matter what, we are encouraged to stay the course, choosing to do what is right and good. There is a promise connected to staying the course, but the reward may be merely getting to see the fruit of our efforts – a changed life although nothing materially changes for us.
If such is our reward, will you continue to choose to do good? That is the test that God may place before you. Will you stay the course no matter what?
Please know doing what is right and good can be a challenge, taxing our willpower, but we also have a stronger power than our willpower — God’s spiritual power within us. Make sure God’s spiritual power empowers our willpower. Then you will NEVER NEVER NEVER QUIT doing what is right and good!
My Shiloh Mystery Series carries this message. The first two books in the series are currently celebrating their anniversary. They are both available in paperback and Kindle, and Audible (coming this Summer).
Sanctuary, A Legacy of Memories (2018) T. M. Brown (9781641110730)
Testament, An Unexpected Return (2018) T. M. Brown (9781641110846)
Purgatory, A Progeny’s Quest (Coming 2020) T. M. Brown
Visit the T. M. Brown Author page for more about my fiction stories and quick links to upcoming author events and how to order.
The paperback editions can be purchased through your local bookstore. For your convenience follow the link to IndieBound.org to locate your nearest bookstore.
The memorable characters in Shiloh will make you ask these two questions:
Would you trust God when the choice you have to make conflicts with what may be in our personal best interest and cost more than we think we can afford?
What price do you place on doing what is right and good?
Will you post your comments on my author webpage after you have read one or both books? Leaving a review on Amazon, Goodreads, or my Facebook Author Page appreciated. You can also find me on Instagram.
In Chapter 21 of the Book of Revelation, God defines a Sanctuary.
The foundations of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone; the first foundation jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. The 12 gates are 12 pearls; each gate made of a single pearl. The broad street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. I did not see a sanctuary in it because the Lord God the Almighty is its sanctuary.
What defines a sanctuary? Is it what people take pride in – their wealth in gold and precious stones? However, God declares such things will be nothing more than building materials where he resides? The most valuable thing will be who not what is revered. There the Lord’s light surrounds those who seek sanctuary in him (a clear metaphor for the revelation of wisdom and truth).
Where do you invest your hope in life? Where do you invest your time and energy? Your retirement portfolio might be the envy of your peers, but what good is your grand portfolio at the end of your days?
Unlike Disney and Universal Studios where fantasies are promised to come true, there is a cost to enter their gates. However, God’s sanctuary requires only an affirming, sincere smile to enter and discover God’s invaluable, immeasurable grace.
What is the focus of your life? What relationships are more important, financial or spiritual ones? Remember, Jesus declared, You cannot serve God and money equally? One will influence your interest in the other.
This message rests within the pages of Sanctuary, A Legacy of Memories. Discover how the notion of Sanctuary galvanized the folks in lil’ ol’ Shiloh after Theo Phillips arrives in town and sheds light upon the dark secrets, scandal, and tragedy for all to confront. TMBrownAuthor.com
Family memories inspire the most believable stories…
T. M. Brown, Southern & Inspirational Author
Folks have asked about my Christmas in Shiloh backstory timeline and how family plays such a key role in the story of Sanctuary. Here’s a kernel of inspiration that came from one of my grandsons performing in front of the Christmas tree when he was but five. These are the moments to be treasured and worthy of inclusion in my stories of Theo and Liddy Phillips overcoming their fears as they unravel mysteries in Shiloh. Their love of family is the fiber that binds their courage as they confront scandals and uncover dark secrets in their new small-town community.
Click the book cover images below to order your copy of Sanctuary or Testament today. Buy an extra copy or two as gifts for your book-loving family or friends.
Don’t forget to share this with your friends and family.
“…let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1
What about your day-to-day living causes you to lose focus as a Christian? Are there choices you’ve made that continue to hurt you physically, mentally or spiritually? The Apostle Paul rightly proclaims an urgent request of all young Christians – STOP doing what you used to do. It is interfering with your new life being like Christ. Take away the idols that hinder you and sidetrack you from enjoying the fullness that God desires for you.
Who we are as a person begins with a thought that grows and sprouts like a seed planted in fertile soil into visible attitude and action. An incorrect notion may seem innocent enough, but it may prevent you from pleasing God, pleasing only yourself.
Consider all the areas of your life. Pray about the changes you need to make in your life. Some will be harder than others, but your decision to change will reap incredible rewards. You will also discover that there is nothing you cannot change about yourself if you allow God to be the impetus for change. He will become and provide his spirit of change.
The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem. “Absolute futility,” says the Teacher. “Absolute futility. Everything is futile.” What does a man gain for all his efforts he labors at under the sun? A generation goes and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises and the sun sets; panting, [it returns] to its place where it rises. Gusting to the south, turning to the north, turning, turning, goes the wind, and the wind returns in its cycles. All the streams flow to the sea, yet the sea is never full. The streams are flowing to the place, and they flow there again. All things are wearisome; man is unable to speak. The eye is not satisfied by seeing or the ear filled with hearing. What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun. Can one say about anything, “Look, this is new”? It has already existed in the ages before us. There is no memory of those who came before; and of those who will come after there will also be no memory among those who follow [them]. Eccl 1:1-11 (HCSB)
We all want to be different, or at the least, uniquely special. However, though we may be unique in many ways, we all travel the road of life the well-traveled and well-marked road of life prodded by many long before us, and many more will assuredly follow us on this same road. The choice we get to make is how we navigate this road of life among all the others who share the road with us. Let us be clear; there are no new paths to choose, just enticing highways with dead-ends should any of us choose to wander off onto our ways. God declares there is but one way to follow him. All other ways are futile and paths of destruction for any of us who decide to navigate our ways.
Look at the world around us; see how God’s creation share his unique, undeniable hallmark. Even nature’s winds and waters behave specific ways, just as the stars and planets have predictably paraded in the heavens as reliable guides for millennia without deviation. The living creatures on land, in the waters, and in the sky migrate and roam the planet in their never-ending cycle of life as well.
However, God has given mankind an inquisitive mind. Unlike the rest of creation, man has the innate nature to pursue the unknown and seek the untraveled as a challenge. When we fail to check with the Creator along the way, our eyes and ears become preoccupied with the prospects of the new, the uncharted paths, we tend to perceive them as new to us, but is not nascent to God. It is a simple fact we too often ignore – nothing exists outside Creator God’s will, ways, and wisdom.
So what must we do? Is futility a trait of maturity? We mature as we realize just because something appears new to us, nothing is new to God. The moment we assume we have captured an original idea, a uniquely created revelation of some truth within our mind, we usurp the role of God in our life. Our life should be a constant pursuit of expanding our understanding the absolutes and realities that flow from our Creator by his grace and will. He alone knows what we are capable of comprehending and benefiting from for his higher purposes. Therefore, as we stumble and bumble our way along the road of life, seek daily to uncover and embrace the discoveries found through exploring God’s will, ways, and wisdom. Trust God alone, and never our selfish desires and understanding…because on our own, we can only claim to discover the dead-end that waits for our arrival! Life awaits all who trust God’s sure ways and perfect will. But God created us with a choice to choose? Do not let futility rule your life.
In Sanctuary, my premier Southern mystery, readers are introduced to the quaint, time-lost South Georgia town of Shiloh. The story begins as Theo and his wife Liddy desire to relocate and retire back to their country roots, after investing four decades of their lives in the shadows of Atlanta. According to the story, it is Liddy who discovers an advertisement for a quaint Craftsman home that convinced her Shiloh would be a perfect fit for them.
But, it’s what readers sense early on as they arrive in Shiloh that draws them into the story? First of all, Shiloh’s reputation paints a serene picture about this time-lost town, but like its namesake from biblical lore, reputation and present reality are subject to the whims and shortcomings of men.
Like the Shiloh of old, Sanctuary reveals that the once proud Shiloh had lost its luster and position as the county seat decades earlier. Alexandria, like Jerusalem in biblical lore, surpassed Shiloh as the center of power and influence, leaving the proud people in Shiloh with their beautiful, antebellum courthouse on the town square a victim of progress. According to the story, Alexandria blossomed during the post-WWII boom and expansion in Georgia, while Shiloh stagnated and struggled, like many real-life small towns in South Georgia. Shiloh’s conciliation came in the preserving of its beloved courthouse as it received a facelift and became reconfigured into the town’s city hall. However, the facelift and remodeling of their sesquicentenary courthouse left the edifice’s skeleton of 19th Century hewn timbers and ornate woodwork intact. Decades later, their beloved historical courthouse would be razed to the ground and steal away the life of a town hero, who rescued others from the growing inferno.
Biblical Shiloh became the first seat of governance once Joshua and the nation of Israel completed their conquest of the Promised Land. The ark of the covenant and tabernacle that had traveled for forty years found a seemingly permanent resting place in Shiloh. Israel’s priests and judges (leaders) established Shiloh as the central seat in the Promised Land until Israel felt unsettled about the way Israel was governed, and desired to be like the other nations. Not long after Israel turned to the rule of king’s, rather than priests acting on God’s behalf, Shiloh fell victim to King David’s selection of Jerusalem as his site for his palace and the building of the new temple. A rival army burned and ransacked Shiloh not long before David ascended the throne as the second king of Israel. However, he turned his back on Shiloh and chose Jerusalem for his palace.
The name Shiloh to this day still paints a different picture than the historical reality which its namesakes have experienced. One of the bloodiest and decisive battles fought during the Civil War became known as the Battle of Shiloh, in Tennessee.
Even the Hebrew origin of the name Shiloh means “place of peace,” but as history revealed, “peace” requires the cooperation of men to live up to the expectation of maintaining peace in their community. Sanctuary and its sequel play on the dichotomy of Shiloh’s reputation and the reality of its present state as Theo and Liddy soon discover upon their arrival to Shiloh that there’s a rift in the tranquility of the community.
I’d love to connect with you and offer the latest on my book tour schedule and insight into this Southern author.
Please leave any comments or questions you may have about Sanctuary or about me. Also, feel free to ask other questions concerning the upcoming sequel, Testament, An Unexpected Return, coming out March 29, 2018.
All good fiction is deeply planted and nourished in the soil of truth and reality. The settings and characters in our novels do not spring up ex-nihilo (out of nothingness). Good novels blur the lines between what is fact and fiction allowing the reader to enjoy the totality of the story as though it is real. Nothing brings a smile quicker than to be asked, “Where is Shiloh, I want to go there.”
In January, an updated edition of SANCTUARY – A Legacy of Memories will be available – featuring a revised introduction, an epilogue, and the addition of a sub-title. (Palmetto Publishing Group, Charleston, SC has partnered to provide some needed edits and revisions to improve the first edition of Sanctuary, and provide a bridge in the storyline to its upcoming sequel.)
TESTAMENT – An Unexpected Return, arrives in March. The sequel picks up the story at the beginning of the following July. There’s a noticeable change in Pete’s and Harold’s characters. Mary’s got a life-altering decision to make. Liddy weighs a position that will get her out of the house. The Archer family face more challenges as events unfold. Wedding bells ring while more than one unexpected return keeps you turning page after page. All the while, foreboding, ominous storms from Shiloh’s past rattle its present and reshape its future.
Visit my new Author Website or my Facebook Author page for more news on the book front from Shiloh in the coming days. In the meantime. enjoy family, food, football, and of course, reading a good novel beside the fireplace as we celebrate New Years 2018. Think y’all will like what the sequel has in store for you…
May God grant you and yours a safe and prosperous 2018!
The holiday season has crept up upon us, and the number of shopping days are whittling down faster with each setting sun. May I remind you, the days are gettin’ shorter and shorter too. Simply put, the pressure is rising to get goin’ on fillin’ your Christmas shopping list for your friends, family members, and co-workers, ‘specially them that are booklovers.
So how do you know which book is best suited as a gift this holiday season? Will you simply judge the bookcover or a couple of well-scripted blurbs meant to grab your dollar before you’ve actually checked out the book?
I’d like to help you. First, checkout the LATEST Amazon reviews for Sanctuary, a Southern flavored small-town mystery that introduces Shiloh preparing for Christmas throughout the story, while the main characters are digging up the truth about scandals and dark secrets haunting their community. However, nothing can deter Shiloh from thier busy preparations for their annual slate of “Christmas in Shiloh” festivities, including the lighting of the town’s giant Christmas tree and festive parade.
How about a taste of a “Christmas in Shiloh” portion of the story? Follow the link to a video preview of Theo and Liddy busying themselves as they prepare for their family’s arrival for Christmas in Shiloh. Click the picture of Jolly Old St. Nick and me…
Otherwise, here’s my LIMITED TIME OFFER: Send me your name and email address by commenting at the bottom of this post or email me directly at email@example.com, and I’ll send you by return email right away a 33-page preview of Sanctuary. See for yourself if it’ll make a good Chrisitmas gift for your loved ones and friends this season, or possibly you’ll order a copy for yourself too. Hundreds have invested in Sanctuary – how about you for yourself and the book-lovers on your holiday list?
I’m wagering, between taking a minute to see what others have said about Sanctuary, and reading the opening chapters, you’ll get hooked and will order one or more copies for your bookloving family and friends, and of course your own reading pleasure.
Although I am a huge supporter of all my independent book retailers, read about Sanctuary on Amazon and peruse all the reviews.
Paperback and Kindle!
Merry Christmas! From my family to yours.
T. M. “Mike” Brown
You can also reach me on Facebook @TMBrownauthor
Remember, Testament, the sequel to Sanctuary will be out in early 2018 too! Stay connected for details on its launch date. T. M. Brown’s Shiloh stories continue…
Y’all Southern mystery lovers, Sanctuary is the holiday read you’ll enjoy this year. Here is a sneak-peek to whet your appetite so you’ll be sure to get your copy.
Click on my photo and I will present some images that reflect Theo’s and Liddy’s first morning in Shiloh, a time-lost South Georgia town they have chosen to reconnect with their roots. However, they end up wrestling with far more excitement and adventures than they bargained for after they arrive.
In Chapter 2 they awaken to the new sounds and sights that draw them back to their earlier days before college, marriage, and a career that kept them in the shadows of Atlanta for the past forty years.
Get your copy of Sanctuary. Checkout the links on the sidebar of my page, or contact me directly for your own personalized, signed edition.
NOTE: Testament, the sequel due out early 2018! Stay tuned for more details soon.
Here’s the first of several “Sneak peeks” at Sanctuary. In this scene, Theo and Liddy have packed up and left the shadows of Atlanta in their rearview mirror. They in the midst of their drive south to their new home in Shiloh…
On the outskirts of Albany, Liddy stirred and wiped her eyes as the late afternoon sunlight glistened between the tree tops. She cleared her throat, lowered her sunglasses from the top of her head, and surveyed the passing scenery before she asked with a drawn-out sigh, “Where are we?” I pointed to a well-timed road sign. “Albany’s 30 more miles. Looks like we’ll arrive in Shiloh a little before six.”
We soon turned onto the Flint River Highway, the homestretch leg of our journey. The amber glow grew darker as the sun disappeared below the distant treetops. Liddy bit her lower lip and clenched my hand. “Do you think we did right? I mean … buying this house and leaving Peachtree?”
My wink and affirming grin brought a smile to Liddy’s relieved lower lip. “You’re right,” she said. “But how well do you think we’ll fit in?” My smiling face bobbed up and down. “Trust me. A town like Shiloh won’t allow us to remain anonymous long.”
Liddy’s attention diverted to weathered barns and sheds with rusted tin roofs along the side of the road. “We must be getting close.”
* * * *
Though a contemporary mystery, its colorful characters are timeless and reflect values and traditions governed by their reluctance toward change.
Come join Theo and Liddy Phillips as their story unfolds after they arrive in lil’ ol’ Shiloh expecting a peaceful retirement in a town much like they grew up in decades beforehand, only to discover Theo’s curiosity about a tragic event does not receive a warm and welcome response by everyone in their new rustic town.
Click the image below and visit Amazon to purchase your copy of Sanctuary. Available in paperback or Kindle editions.
Would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment or question.
Enjoy this short video that my wife took during my opening as I shared insights and a reading from the beginning chapter of Sanctuary. Sorry it cuts out as Theo and Liddy arrive into Shiloh, but guess you’ll need to get your own copy of Sanctuary for the rest of the story…
Please support your local independent bookstore. Walk in and ask them for a copy of Sanctuary by T. M. Brown. If they don’t have it on the shelf, they can easily order you a copy. (Yes, you can get your Kindle or paperback from Amazon too, but why not support the bricks and mortar retailer investing in their community?)
Sanctuary covers a specific timeline as Theo and Liddy’s story unfolds in the late Fall and ends on Christmas Eve in Shiloh. This makes this heartwarming small-town Southern mystery a wonderful holiday gift for family and friends.
Nothing changes about the original book cover, however the promo images infuse the “Christmas in Shiloh” imagery.
As a proud author-member of Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA), I personally encourage you to contact your local independent bookstore to purchase your copy of Sanctuary.
For those in the Greater Atlanta area, visit Horton’s Books and Gifts in Carrollton, GA. I’ll be there on Saturday, September 23rd. They already have Sanctuary conveniently available on their online shopping page… Horton’s Online Book store
REMEMBER: There are two current noteworthy promotions underway.
(1) From all the reviewers of Sanctuary, twenty-five will be selected after December 31st to receive advance copies of Testament, the sequel due to release early 2018.
TESTAMENT, available 2018 – “Shiloh wrestles with an unexpected visitor from its past…”
(2) On a first come first serve basis, there are four (4) Kindle versions of Sanctuary available. Just go to my Facebook Author Page and comment why you love Southern mysteries or what you find intriguing about Sanctuary. Remember this is a limited offer so don’t hesitate to respond.
For schedule of all my author events in the coming weeks please go to my Facebook author page. As the holidays approach, do you think Sanctuary might make a convenient holiday gift for your book loving friends and family members on your Christmas list.
Take advantage of the giveaway on my Amazon web page. Click the photo to find your way to enter. Contest ends on Labor Day. No strings or catches!
Sanctuary is a great Southern mystery for the holidays. Theo and Liddy leave their suburban home behind and move into their new home in sleepy Shiloh in November. The townspeople are engaged in their final preparations for their annual “Christmas in Shiloh” celebration as Theo is drawn into what happened to Jessie Masterson the night he died, and ulitmately Jessie’s cousin, John Priestly, who is sitting in prison. Theo uncovers dark secrets and scandal that their new neighbors and friends tried to sweep under the carpet, but their emotions begged for answers.
What would you do if you uncovered wrongs that needed to be made right, but the possible consequences likely come with a cost? Would you let sleeping dogs lie, or…?
Feel free to tell your family and friends about the free Kindle ebook giveaway, or order your own paperback copy today.
If you’re in the Atlanta area over Labor Day Weekend, stop by the #Decatur Book Festival. Saturday I’ll be at multiple venues thropughout the day, culminating at 5:30 in the Courtyard by Marriott Auditorium where I’ll be taking part in the Atlanta Writers Club Fiction Track Panel discussion, followed by a booksigning time. Earlier in the afternoon, you can find me and my wife at Deeds Publishing tent, where Sanctuary will be on sale throughout the festival, from 2:15 – 3:15 along with my friend Dana Ridenour, author of Behind the Mask and Beyond the Cabin. From 4:00 – 5:00, I’ll be signing copies of Sanctuary at the Atlanta Writers Club booth too.
Within this novel suited for the holidays you will meet some very unique and interesting people that live in the small town of Shiloh as they look forward to celebrating “Christmas in Shiloh”, a normally special time in this time-lost community. A serious fire that caused a well-known landmark to burn down in this town took the life of Jessie Masterson before his time. Although he saved many from the same fate, no one could save him. But there is much more. John Priestly, the well-respected head coach of the football team – a team that rose to fame and glory under his and Jessie’s leadership. Both men were respected and revered by so many of the young adults, teens and others as they created not only harmony among team members but within the community too. Establishing a place called Sanctuary where young people and anyone else could come to talk, listen, understand and worship in a different way helped foster friendships that can never be severed.
Your sanctuary can be a sacred part of a religious building as in a Christian church in which the altar is placed. It is sometimes a consecrated place or the room in which general worship is held. In this book you might say it is more of a place of protection, refuge, understanding, hope and tolerance where everyone could meet, listen, talk and find solace in their own way.
But, let’s back up for a minute and meet Theo and Liddy Phillips who moved to the South Georgia town of Shiloh were welcomed and greeted upon arriving by a group of congenial and wonderful people who opened their arms and doors to them. A town that appears to be friendly and warm, yet as you gather round the many dinner, lunch and outdoor events you will learn something lurks beneath some of their congenial smiles. Theo, formerly the chief editor of a publishing company, may have retred but of course does not want his journalistic instincts to get stale or rusty. Meeting the owners of the only newspaper in town, Larry and Martha are thrilled that he agrees to do a special, investigative feature story on the life of two members of the community: Jessie Masterson who lost his life in the fire and John Priestly who is sitting in prison for supposedly embezzling school funds.
Living in the home previously owned by Betty Masterson, John’s mother who passed not long after John was convicted, and taking this part-time assignment with the paper, he falls into an interesting daily rhythm as Liddy, Theo’s wife joins in many activities with the Pastor’s wife, Martha, and other prominent women in this small town, which happens to be in the midst of preparing for their annual Christmas in Shiloh event.
Theo dives into the archives of the newspaper with the help of the publisher’s daughter, and he realizes that there is much more to this mystery and the cause of the fire. When he questions the young people in the town, the Mayor, the Pastor, Larry the owner of the paper and others he learns that there is some doubt of John’s guilt, and that John refused to defend himself in court. Eventually everyone will learn why.
Harold Archer is the Mayor and his oldest son is Hank whose wife works for Harold at City Hall. Everyone warns Theo of Hank’s volatile personality and advises him never to deal with him alone.
What I really enjoyed reading about were the interactions between Theo and the younger people that are so polite, job oriented and have their own roots within this small town and how they interacted with Theo and the respect shown to him and Liddy is heartwarming and encouraging. I think that young adults, teens and younger children can learn some real lessons in manners, morals and family traditions and dedication.
Harold Archer’s family owns the construction company in town and profited from some of the projects by over 12 million dollars due to extras and add-ons. When John Priestly challenged the quality and rising costs of the construction work hard feelings festered. Theo visits John in prison, thanks to Joe Arians, John’s lawyer and new friend of Theo and Liddy, hopeful John will shed some light on why he did not fight the charges in court.
(You will need to read this engaging Southern mystery for the rest of the story, which climaxes during Shiloh’s grand Christmas in Shiloh holidays celebration.)
This is a town where nearly everyone opened their arms and hearts to Theo and Liddy, cusing you to wonder if God did not send them there to reunite the town and rid it of its sorrows and secrets.
Author T. M. Brown brings us inside a town filled with love, warmth and most of all heartfelt love for each other. So many lessons for young people to learn about respect, understanding, family values and most of all faith and forgiveness.
Fran Lewis: Just Reviews/MJ magazine
To order your copy, visit your local independent book retailer, Amazon or request a signed copy directly at @TMBrownauthor.
The greatest threat to any Sanctuary, where hope, peace and the presence of God’s embrace reside, is the pervasive cancer of sex, violence and vulgarity.
According to recent statistics, novels replete with explicit sex, violence, and vulgarity continue to thrive as the flavor of the month in book sales. However, should authors kowtow to earthy content to increase book numbers?
Good writers engage their audience so well, scenes calling for sex, violence, or vulgarity communicate through the actions and attitudes of the characters. Thus, allowing the story to unfold without explicitly necessitating every sordid detail.
I believe an author’s responsibility is not only to entertain but also engage readers, so they sense they are witnessing the story as it unfolds.
What images race through your mind that depicts anger and rage? Do you picture contorted faces and threatening gestures, or do you need to be explicitly told? Consider this scene from my book Sanctuary:
Hank gritted his teeth as the veins on his neck swelled, and his eyes glared through me. “Well, I think you’re putting your nose into places you’ve no business being.” He uncrossed his arms and pointed at my chest. “I’m warning you. Stay away from me and my wife!”
“Hank, I’m sorry if I’ve said or done anything to upset you. Have you spoken to your father?”
“This is between you and me. Stay out of our lives.” Hank’s effort to be more composed fell apart.
… Hank pressed his finger into my sternum. “This is all I’m going to say to you about Jessie or John…” He thumped his finger against my chest adding emphasis to each word. “I’m truly sorry about what happened to Jessie, but John got what he deserved. And you can quote me on that. Now back off! I’m warning you.”
Pete stepped out from the shadows, unceremoniously interrupting Hank’s exchange with me.
“Mister P, is everything okay?” Pete asked as he glared at Hank. “Hank, who’re you warning about what?”
Hank surveyed Pete and the four remaining shadows just out of the light. His finger fell to his side, but his distended veins on his neck swelled even more. “Pete, this has nothing to do with you or any of you guys!”
…Pete extended his finger just shy of Hank’s chest. “How in the blue blazes do you know it don’t involve us? If you think you can flex your muscles and intimidate one of my friends, you just made it my business.” His stern warning and unflinching stare froze Hank.
Granted a few expletives could’ve been exchanged, but did the scene work anyway?
John Grisham achieved his decades-long success capitalizing on his uncanny knack of drawing his audience’s attention upon his colorful characters and settings. Doing so, he exited scenes involving sex, violence or vulgarity using innuendo. In fact, Grisham’s Theodore Boone YA mysteries found a broad new audience without much of an adjustment in his storytelling to do so. Neither should we to reach a wider audience to sell more books.
Sanctuary, a Southern mystery novel that celebrates small-town life dealing with 21st Century challenges while trying to move beyond scandal and dark secrets holding the idyllic, time-lost town of Shiloh hostage as Theo Phillips and his wife, Liddy arrive in town to retire. For more information – TM Brown FB Author Page or CoachBrown.org
The Write Spirit: Man pens a book for his grandchildren
THE NEWNAN TIMES-HERALD, Jun. 24, 2017 – 6:30 AM
By JUSTON LEWIS – firstname.lastname@example.org
(T.M.) Mike Brown had traveled parts of the United States for more than 30 years before deciding to settle in Grantville.
Brown has worn many hats over his lifetime – businessman, coach, teacher, preacher, inspirational speaker. Recently he took up the mantle of author.
According to Brown, he was eating at Redneck Gourmet with his family when first hit with the idea to draft a story. He stepped outside into the square and had a conversation with his wife, Connie.
It started with a what-if question. He asked himself, what if he could write a story about a small town to share with his grandchildren.
“I wasn’t really sure where the story would go,” Brown said. “I just wanted to do a story to my grandkids that would involve my grandkids.”
From there it was a process that took two years. Brown drafted a titleless story that was relatable to his very own life and that his grandchildren would be able to read and understand as they got older. Once all the writing and editing was completed Brown said he felt relieved.
“I was ecstatic, I felt like I accomplished something,” Brown said.
Little did he know he was just getting started with his writing journey.
During peer review the name “Sanctuary” was suggested as a title. Brown said he knew immediately that was the perfect title.
Once the story had a title, he had to find a picture, and he did such stumbling upon a picture of a burning courthouse. Brown did research on the picture and found the backstory to the picture and eventually visited Hancock County where the picture was from.
They had rebuilt the courthouse, and it was in a “timelost town” as Brown put it. The town of Sparta, Hancock’s county seat, was very similar to the fictional town of Shiloh that was the setting in Brown’s book.
Seeing this Brown, said it all had come to culmination. He finally had completed his book. He faced a few minor setbacks with the promotional period, but now he is back on schedule and is doing book signings across Georgia.
He will be hosting an author meet and greet at for Sanctuary at Corner Arts Gallery in downtown Newnan on July 1 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and July 6 and 13 from 6-8 p.m.
Brown says that his second book, “Testament,” is in the editing stage, and he is hoping for a fall release date.
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Go to https://www.facebook.com/TMBrownauthor/ or to discover more about my Southern novel, Sanctuary, a small-town mystery with a message of family and community inspired by Newnan, GA, just up the road from my home.
What can be more inspirational than our family? If you live near Atlanta, especially Coweta County, come checkout Newnan’s historic Court Square. There you will discover a quaint shop, Corner Arts Gallery in the shadows of the “Old County Courthouse” and the setting that inspired the setting of Shiloh, the small-town in my premier Southern novel, Sanctuary. There’s where Jenny Jones and her staff will gladly offer you a signed copy of Sanctuary.
I will be onhand to answer questions and sign more books Saturday, July 1st -10am-2pm; Thursdays, July 6 & 13 from 6-8pm for NewnaNights Mid-Summer Entertainment evenings. I also would love to celebrate the Fourth of July with you at Crossroads Church on Hwy 16, Sharpsburg, GA from 6:30 until Fireworks go off. I will be among the other vendors offering refreshments, food, games, and crafts on the church grounds.
Sometimes a short video clip says much more than a wordy response. Click on the image above to view a brief clip of a prelaunch interview conducted prior to Sanctuary’s April launch date. Then head over to Amazon to checkout the recent reviews and then order either the paperback or ebook version.
Have you added Sanctuary to your ‘Must Read’ Summer list of books?
Would you be interested in receiving a free advance copy of Testament, the sequel due out early 2018? Send an email or leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.
A 5 Star Review by Linda Pifer
‘Time crept while I stirred and tossed in futile attempts to capture any semblance of actual sleep. Capitulation arrived shortly after four when I poured a cup of coffee and sat down in the living room…Okay Lord what are you trying to share with me?’ Theo Phillips, Main character Ch 20, pg. 169
When the author used the descriptor, ‘a couple of southern minutes’, I knew I was in for a treat as main characters Theo Phillips and his wife Liddy started retirement in their new hometown of Shiloh, Georgia.
Thank-you for this inspiring, funny and heart-warming journey with Theo and Liddy as they accept the challenge presented them and become part of the town of Shiloh.
Another 5 Star Review by Jedwin Smith
Here’s a mystery almost all of us can dig our teeth into, especially those born and bred in Small Southern Town, USA.
Well, as those good-ol’-boys like to say, pull up a chair and settle back for the type of old-fashioned whodunit that kept the Andy Griffin Show community spellbound for years. And while you’re at it, give ol’ T.M. Brown a well-deserved round of applause for giving the literary world a rousing mystery suitable for all audiences.
As we like to say in the South: “Well done, son!”
You can check all the other reviews on Amazon, Goodreads or visit T. M. Brown’s Facebook Author Page. While visiting take a moment to hit the “liked” button to stay informed about news on the sequel’s release and author events and specials.
With Testament, Book 2 of my Shiloh series, currently in the hands of Deeds Publishing, I am enlisting those who have read my premier Southern mystery novel, Sanctuary, to become pre-launch ARC reviewers for the sequel. Those selected will receive a free “Advance Reader Copy” to read and offer a review prior to the official launch of Testament in early 2018.
If you have read or plan to read Sanctuary, please let me know if you’d like to be considered as an ARC Participant for Testament. Simply comment below or email your interest in becoming an eligible ARC prelaunch participant.
Please include your answers to these simple questions to be considered:
What was your takeaway from reading Sanctuary? What does the title Testament suggest about the sequel’s story? Which characters intrigue you the most and why?
What does the title Testament suggest about the sequel’s story? Which characters intrigue you the most and why?
Which characters intrigue you the most and why?
There’s still plenty of time for you to order and read a copy of Sanctuary to be included in this offer. Click the image below to order either the paperback or eBook version, or email me for a signed hardcopy to be mailed directly to you – postage free – a limited time offer.
ARC readers will be notified shortly after the Labor Day deadline for submitting your responses.
Whether you prefer reading the Kindle version or the paperback, Sanctuary will draw you into time-lost Shiloh. you’ll mosey alongside newcomers Theo and Liddy Phillips seeking to quietly retire near their country roots. But, God has other plans! Before they can kick back and relax on their porch, happenstance becomes God’s harbinger of past secrets, impacting their plans through unexpected providential encounters.
discover for yourself why Sanctuary has become a must read for “all audiences” this summer. Visit T. M. Brown’s Author Facebook Page. check out the latest reviews and purchase a copy for your upcoming summer vacation. quick links help you order your Kindle (free to Kindle Unlimited Subscribers) or the paperback versions. make sure to “like” the page before you leave!
For a limited time, why not request a personalized copy shipped postage-free to you. Email “Mike” at email@example.com to request your signed copy – $18.95 delivered to your mailbox.
NOTE: Special Book Club offer available for orders of 6+ books. Email for details.
Every town has its secrets, and Shiloh is no exception. When Theo Phillips decided to finally retire from the publishing business, he and his wife, Liddy, moved to South Georgia to what they thought would be a sleepy little town: Shiloh. It was probably both the empty charming home that they purchased and remodeled and Theo’s part-time job at the local newspaper that got the couple involved in the mystery of the courthouse fire. You’ll enjoy experiencing the life of a southern town and getting to know all of the interesting people of Shiloh through T. M. Brown’s novel, “Sanctuary.” I enjoyed the story and found myself being drawn into the drama. Brown does a great job presenting his believable characters and helping the reader to experience the flowing story of mystery, struggle, hope, and healing.
T.M. Brown’s Sanctuary drips with southern charm. The story of the small town of Shiloh is both interesting and compelling. Its citizens have anguished enough and it’s time for the truth to come out. Thanks to the town’s newest citizens and the author’s character driven story all is revealed. If you’re looking for a good read, this is your book! – Randy Gravitt, CEO of InteGREAT Leadership and author of UNSTUCK
“Sanctuary” by T.M Brown is one of the best Christian mystery novels I have read in a very long time. There is significance in the name of the little southern town where retired Theo and Liddy Philips move to – Shiloh. The reader very quickly senses that the Philips’ have moved to the most perfect small town U.S.A. but there is a realization that things are not as they seem. The seemingly perfect little town of Shiloh and its residents are in dire need of redemption and forgiveness and Theo and Liddy are the perfect couple to put things in motion.
T.M. Brown takes his time unraveling the complicated storyline and developing the wonderfully memorable characters. Probably my only complaint about this novel is that there are just too many characters. I had trouble keeping them all straight at times.
Visit my Amazon Author Page to discover other great reviews and then select either the eBook (Kindle) or paperback copy to suit your reading pleasure.
My best reviews are from people just like you! Visit your local independent bookstore and ask for your copy of Sanctuary? Then, contact me with your own review that you’d be willing to share with friends and family members.
Have you ordered your upcoming vacation novel? Check out all the rave reviews and you’ll be enticed to get your paperback or ebook copy of Sanctuary.
Available online at Amazon or Barnes and Noble, and wherever books are sold! Please support your local independent bookstore. They’re the gatekeepers for the best of the latest releases because they care the most about you, their customers.
Here are the latest reviews that reveal Sanctuary is, without a doubt, a gripping mystery written for “all audiences.”
Sanctuary introduces newly retired publishing executive, Theo Phillips, and his wife, Liddy, to the time-lost South Georgia town of Shiloh. They leave the shadows of Atlanta and move into a quaint home of notoriety. While making new friends, they discover twenty-first-century challenges threaten the town’s laid-back lifestyle. Theo’s interest in a memorial launches him into investigating tragic events that have left Shiloh unsettled. Theo and Liddy’s retirement dreams take a turn that could unravel both them and the idyllic life they and many others look for in Shiloh.
Theo and Liddy Phillips are newcomers to the nostalgic small town of Shiloh. Met with honest, relaxed warmth by most, this newly retired couple have arrived at just the right time. Mystery shrouds the town as the truth about a tragic fire sent a beloved coach to his death, and unsettled many. The strands of truth beg to be unraveled by Theo, a former journalist, and as he and his wife settle in, the story unwraps itself like a gift into their welcoming and compassionate lives.
Idyllic small town life and a bevy of believable and lovable characters left me wanting more as I finished the last chapter. Reading Sanctuary is like coming home to well-worn slippers and comfortable friends. A fantastic first novel by author and life coach TM Brown. I’m ready for the sequel.
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Release Date: February 1, 2017
Launch Date: April 4, 2017
More reviews available on Amazon, GoodReads, and Barnes & Noble.
For book lovers of contemporary Southern mysteries, Sanctuary offers several excellent opportunities to get your own copy for your reading pleasure.
Another fantastic review received. And, if you are a Kindle Unlimited member you can get this memorable Southern mystery for free too! Of course, for those who still love to read and save the printed copy, it’s available by ordering online at Amazon, Barnes&Noble, or through your local bookstore by request if it already isn’t on the shelf.
For a limited time, you can order your signed copy of Sanctuary by contacting me if you are unable to visit me at one of my many book signing events throughout the South. Just comment leaving your contact information and I’ll send you a personalized, autographed copy postage free for $18.95.
Here’s another great reason to get your copy of SANCTUARY: Through May 18th, book sales benefit either Coweta Pregnancy Services in Newnan, GA or Harmony House Domestic Violence Shelter in Lagrange, GA. Once you read the book you’ll have a greater appreciation for why I desired to support these worthy, life-changing organizations.
Once you read your copy, please submit your review too!
Sanctuary introduces newly retired publishing executive, Theo Phillips, and his wife, Liddy, to the time-lost South Georgia town of Shiloh. They leave the shadows of Atlanta and move into a quaint home of notoriety. While making new friends, they discover twenty-first-century challenges threaten the town’s laid-back lifestyle. Theo’s interest in a memorial launches him into investigating tragic events that have left Shiloh unsettled. Theo and Liddy’s retirement dreams take a turn that could unravel both them and the idyllic life they and many others look for in Shiloh. (Summary via Amazon)
[Sanctuary] is a story about a husband and wife, Theo and Liddy, who move to a small town and become a part of something greater than they ever could have imagined. As soon as they arrive, they are drawn to a statue of a young man in the Town Square. Curiosity and Theo’s journalistic background draw him to this statute and its background. As soon as he learns there are unanswered questions regarding the statute, the old City Hall building and a group of kids they’ve met, Theo digs in to learn what he can.
Shiloh is a town you want to live in, you want to have neighbors like Theo and Liddy and you want to have friends just like they have. In Shiloh everybody knows everything, people help others even if they are strangers, and there’s a calm throughout the town.
Theo and Liddy fit right in immediately. They are soon involved in the church, Theo is going to write some articles for the local paper, and they even have Thanksgiving with the Mayor. They are making friends fast and getting involved in everything but is it going to be too much? As Theo digs into the fire that burned down the old City Hall building that killed Jesse, will the outcome spark new flames?
I LOVED Sanctuary by T, M. Brown and I highly encourage you to read it !!! I am even going to help you out by providing you with a list of the characters. As you will see with some of the names, you can become confused very quickly….. AND I don’t want that to prevent you from reading the AMAZING story……
Which Selfish Generation Threatens God’s Sanctuary?
Don’t slander a servant to his master, or he will curse you, and you will become guilty. There is a generation that curses its father and does not bless its mother. There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, yet is not washed from its filth. There is a generation – how haughty its eyes and pretentious its looks. There is a generation whose teeth are swords, whose fangs are knives, devouring the oppressed from the land and the needy from among mankind. Prov 30:10-14 (HCSB)
Could we be our own worst enemy? Could our cancerous attitudes be devouring our nation and even God’s sanctuary?
God’s Word clearly speaks about the generation that is self-serving, self-centered, and self-focused! When will we ever learn that such a period in history always leads to self-destruction? The Roman Empire imploded upon itself until its millennia empire totally collapsed because its self-created malignant cancer consumed Rome’s very heart, mind, and soul. For this very reason, we should take a serious look at the state of our nation. Will we succumb to self-manifested cancer and fall like Rome? Let us not think we will fair any different than all the great empires that have risen and fallen before or since.
The Bible records in explicit detail how the Israelites and Judahites lost their grand sanctuary city with its Temple in Jerusalem. And as if the remnant learned nothing, centuries later the pious Jews rebuilt their sanctuary city anchored with its new Temple, bigger and grander than before, but before a century passed after they crucified the Messiah, their cancerous behavior returned and their beloved sanctuary city along with its Temple was destroyed by the same Romans who centuries later would suffer the same fate to Rome, their sanctuary city. All because both the Jews and the Romans thought they were uniquely special, perfect in their own eyes.
We may be living in such a depraved generation when everyone’s focus is inward to their own wants and desires. Even avarice and gluttony fail to satisfy our own growing voracious cancer! No longer is there a sanctuary from our self. Yet, we feel we remain the envy of all other nations! Yes, we still have a lot to offer, but the people in our country have lost respect for the values that created our country. Patriotism, love for country, has been replaced by hedonism, the love of self.
Where have all the jobs gone that shaped the American Dream? Companies with their factories and warehouses once provided excellent, reliable and stable employment, but we have raised a generation no longer wanting to get their hands dirty. We believed that everyone needed and ultimately deserved a college education to share the American Dream. Unions demanded higher wages and more benefits until companies found it more profitable to go overseas so they could better compete in the growing world marketplace created by the greediness of the same people who wanted better prices to buy more things they felt they needed. Those same companies and their executives lusted for greater profits and eliminated more and more jobs while increasing their own lavish salaries. Greed feeds upon itself like cancer and the average hard working citizen in our country becomes the first victim and the American Dream evaporates.
History is plain. Unless we restore our country’s vision to the values that made us great, we will face the same results as other great nations before us. Our country needs desperately to return to seeking after God’s will, ways, and wisdom. It is time to look after one another again, rolling up our sleeves, willing to better prepare the next generation to carry the torch of the American Dream for the good of all, not on own selfish interests. We have forgotten the Golden Rule. Our focus needs to be upon caring about our neighbors, our communities, and our country ahead of ourselves. Then and only then will God then provide the kind of sanctuary that cannot be destroyed by man.
Heed the warning Jesus gave to the Pharisees and Scribes of Jerusalem: Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. But WOE to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You lock up the kingdom of heaven from people. For you don’t go in, and you don’t allow those entering to go in. WOE to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You devour widows’ houses and make long prayers just for show. [This is why you will receive a harsher punishment.]WOE to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to make one proselyte, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as fit for Â hellas you are! WOE to you, blind guides, who say, ˜Whoever takes an oath by the sanctuary, it means nothing. But whoever takes an oath by the gold of the sanctuary is bound by his oath.”Blind fools!For which is greater, the gold or the sanctuary that sanctified the gold? Also, Whoever takes an oath by the altar, it means nothing. But whoever takes an oath by the gift that is on it is bound by his oath.Blind people!For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift? Therefore the one who takes an oath by the altar takes an oath by it and by everything on it. The one who takes an oath by the sanctuary takes an oath by it and by Him who dwells in it. And the one who takes an oath by heaven takes an oath by God’s throne and by Him who sits on it. WOE to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You pay a tenth ofmint, dill, and cumin,yet you have neglected the more important matters of the law – justice, mercy, and faith. These things should have been done without neglecting the others. Blind guides! You strain out a gnat, yet gulp down a camel! WOE to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greedand self-indulgence! Blind Pharisee! First, clean the inside of the cup,so the outside of itmay also become clean. WOE to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every impurity. In the same way, on the outside, you seem righteous to people, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. WOE to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, and you say, “If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we wouldn’t have taken part with them in shedding the prophets’ blood.”You therefore testify against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ sins!Snakes! Brood of vipers! How can you escape being condemned to hell? This is why I am sending you prophets, sages, and scribes. Some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will flog in your synagogues and hound from town to town. So all the righteous blood shed on the earth will be charged to you,from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Â I assure you: All these things will come on this generation! Matt 23:12-36 (HCSB)