Shiloh’s History: Old Dixie Highway Impact

Story Behind Shiloh's Past

When I began researching my fictional South Georgia town, aptly named Shiloh, I wanted to understand how a county seat with a beautiful antebellum courthouse could lose its status. How could a revered courthouse become merely a symbol of the town’s past but become only a city hall as the power in the county shifted eastward to a more thriving and successful town full of tourists, shopping malls, and sprawling neighborhoods?

History revealed the political wrangling during the routing and building of the highways in Georgia decided the fate of many Georgia small cities and towns. The demographic of counties shifted within a decade or two after the highways snaked their way South a century ago. And, later again when in the 50s-70s, the Interstate Highway System sped tourists down its concrete corridors. Progress is most often welcomed without considering its long-term impact on the greater population left behind. Shiloh reflects such a left-behind community–scarred by the changes of its past–yet comfortable remaining a step or two behind all the changes of the 21st-Century. Understandably, the residents of Shiloh embrace time-lost traditions while creeping forward in time.

Might I suggest a little history lesson that might appeal to most folks about the changes brought on 100 years ago as highways and automotive travel reshaped Georgia and the Old South? http://georgiahistory.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/dixie_hwy.pdf

I invite you to fall in love with little old Shiloh. Though the stories are set in contemporary times, there’s a time-lost feel throughout that will assuredly draw your curiosity as to where Shiloh would exist if it were real today. Visit the bookstore for quick links to all three of the Shiloh stories. Fall in love with not only the colorful and memorable characters wrestling with deep secrets, conflict, threats, and of course modern changes creeping into their sleepy rural community but also discover how Shiloh also becomes a key character in each story.

Sanctuary, A Legacy of Memories (2017) – April 2020, Hearthstone Press release

Testament, An Unexpected Return (2018) – April 2020 Heartstone Press release

Purgatory, A Progeny’s Quest (May 2020) – Hearthstone Press release

Purgatory’s book cover reveal coming soon… In the meantime, check out a couple of advance blurbs regarding the best and final book in the Shiloh series.

If you’ve never treated yourself to a novel by T.M. Brown, I recommend you start turning the pages of Purgatory, which in my estimation is pure literature. This story unfolds once again amid the patchwork of furrowed cotton and peanut fields of the South Georgia Christian community of Shiloh, where the townsfolk are getting ready to celebrate the annual Lightning Bug Festival — ol’ downhome country fun at its finest. But a storm is about to erupt. While folks fret they might lose their mayor to the Congressional swamp-water intrigue of Washington, an orphaned teenage girl appears on the scene in search of a mother who is long dead. But when one of Shiloh’s citizens purchases an armored limo with a checkered history at a Sheriff’s used-car auction, the town’s tranquility is shattered by the accumulation of dead bodies and broken hearts. Here’s a story that will keep you reading throughout the wee hours.

  • Jedwin Smith, author of I AM ISRAEL, Our Brother’s Keeper, and Fatal Treasure 

Mysteries beset the citizenry of a small southern town that exudes “contagious, country-fried wholeness.” T. M. Brown peels back the layers of those mysteries like one peels an onion. As you approach the finale, better hold on to your hat!

Jameson Gregg, Georgia Author of the Year, author of Luck Be A Chicken, a comic novel

The first two books will be available wherever books are sold beginning next week, and advance orders for Purgatory will be available by early April as well. Watch your email check back here or on my Facebook or Instagram accounts.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed Shiloh’s relevant history lesson and trust this current health crisis will end soon and business will gradually return to normal. I am presently praying for every small business and especially the bookstores struggling through this nightmarish calamity. I look forward to my upcoming book tour with optimism that will begin in early May (hopefully).

Mike, aka T. M. Brown

Shiloh’s Tug-of-War Homily

An excerpt from Testament, An Unexpected Return – written in 2016 but the message in the preacher’s homily to the folks in Shiloh is so relevant today…

Chapter Three -“Tug-of-War Sermon”

Arnie draped his navy blazer across the chair behind the pulpit, rolled-up his sleeves and loosened his red, white and blue tie. Undaunted by the church’s aging air conditioner, he plunged into the sermon. Twenty minutes in, Arnie paused and took stock of the sanctuary aflutter with bulletins flapping. He motioned for Mary to ready herself at the piano.

Arnie sipped from his water bottle, yanked a monogrammed handkerchief from his hip pocket and dabbed the nape of his neck and forehead. He closed his black leather Bible and stepped to the edge of the platform.

“As much as I’d like to complete my holiday homily, I’ll conclude early today.” He slid his finger from holding his place in the Bible as he gazed upon our relieved faces. 

Arnie took another long swig of water and cleared his throat. “My dear friends and church family, we have enjoyed a wonderful Independence Day weekend. But lest we forget, even in our beloved Shiloh we cannot escape the mounting crisis America faces. Our country and community are being yanked and pulled in a tug-of-war not much different from what we witnessed at the Jubilee, except on a grander scale with far-reaching significance. On one end, staunch traditionalists clinging to the past stubbornly hunker down straining against the opposing end of the rope gripped by determined progressive visionaries pursuing changes for a brighter future. How can such a struggle be good for all of our people? Without God’s indubitable blessing, the America we know and love, and the Shiloh we likewise know and love, will surely stumble and succumb to the infighting.”

Arnie lifted his Bible over his head. “Our future rests in God’s hands alone. Each day, God proves that we can hold fast to our past while envisioning a better tomorrow. God uses our tug-of-war battles to safeguard the quantity and velocity of the inevitable changes. Thankfully, God has twisted the strands of the tug-of-war rope to withstand the back and forth strain of our fickleness.”

Arnie waved his Bible from side to side. “Regardless of which side you choose to stand on, rest assured our struggles are for the good of all who love and trust God. May all of us embrace the struggles caused by our differences as God’s way of making us stronger for the challenges that lie ahead for our country and community.”

Modest relief arrived as we entered the main foyer. The wide-open doors at each end provided a slight breeze as we mingled among the few people not ready to venture into the sunshine.

Stationed at the main entrance, Arnie clutched his handkerchief in one hand and greeted members as they filed past with the other. Judy stood beside him in a blue and yellow, sleeveless summer dress and showed little ill effects from the uncomfortable, humid conditions. She kept the line moving, smiling and whispering to each person as they exited and sometimes used a slight, gentle nudge to prevent anyone from lingering too long.

As I appreciated the teamwork of my pastor and his wife, Martha grabbed my elbow and looked at Liddy. “How about y’all meet us at Bubba’s? Sam and Susanna are going. We’re about to invite Arnie and Judy as well.” Martha then eyed me. “I know you’re game. What do you say?”

This is not a blue or red, progressive or conservative, issue — it’s an issue with the nature of all folks. We innately argue over whether our glass is half-full or half-empty, although the same amount of water resides in the glass. Maybe little old Shiloh can teach us all a lesson on how to move on from wanting to be right to do what is right for the good of everyone. T. M. “Mike” Brown

I welcome your feedback. Thank you, and I pray our country will recover long after we move on from the current health crisis we face.

Purgatory Pre-Launch Events – March & April

Watch for Purgatory’s Cover reveal in March!

March Author Events

(follow the above link to my @T.M.BrownAuthor Facebook page for more specifics on any particular event)

In light of recent events caused by the unexpected health crisis–aka coronavirus–we all have had to adjust to canceling planned events until further notice. I remain hopeful that the stringent and unprecedented actions by our government officials will enable all of us to return to a business-as-usual status in a few weeks not months. As soon as we get a handle on this “highly contagious bug” and wrangle in the “bugaboo” scare it has caused the world to shutter up and hunker down from, I will eagerly advise my new schedule of events to promote and discuss my third and final book in the Shiloh Mystery–Purgatory, A Progeny’s Quest.

Until that time, watch for news of all the Shiloh Mystery books being available online once again through Heartstone Press (Southern Fried Karma, LLC). For the same reason that Theo and Liddy Phillips (my story’s main characters) sold their home in the suburbs of Atlanta and moved to a home in rural South Georgia, you too might enjoy reading about time-lost Shiloh coping with 21st-Century threats and challenges to their close-knit community. Books offer an escape we all need–a reminder of what life could and should be like–and, I pray folks will enjoy Theo’s stories about Shiloh handling and coping with challenges and threats to their community in that light.

God bless. Stay safe, and trust that life will return to business as usual soon. Our sacrifices today will save lives and expedite our recovery.

Watch for Purgatory’s advance purchase information by early April.

April 11, Thursday. Broadleaf Writers Association – Writer’s Workshop event: Creating Colorful Characters and Settings in a Story. At Southern Fried Books, Newnan, 6:30 – 8:30 PM. (Guest speaker along with Steve McCondichie).

Purgatory, A Progeny’s Quest Launch Celebration

Dates and times are subject to change:

Corner Arts Gallery & Studio Launch Party, Saturday, May 2nd, 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM, Court Square, Newnan, GA, sponsored by Hearthstone Press (Southern Fried Karma, LLC) and Corner Arts Gallery & Studios. Watch for their newly expanded Local Author Book Nook!

Purgatory, A Progeny’s Quest Book Launch, Tuesday, May 5th, 2:30 – 4:00 PM – Newnan Carnegie Library, Newnan GA, sponsored by Heartstone Press (Southern Fried Karma, LLC). Watch for more information coming soon. Limited seating event. Hear a discussion about the main characters, the origin of Shiloh the quintessential rural town, and readings from all three books in the series.

Watch for updates on the entire book tour as soon as we receive the all-clear to socialize and travel freely once again, and America opens its businesses again.

29 Jackson Street, Newnan, GA – just two blocks off Court Square.

Purgatory, A Progeny’s Quest is Coming – May 5th!

Book Three in the Shiloh Mystery Series is busy getting ready for its launch on May 5th in Newnan, GA.

Watch for upcoming announcements and the full cover reveal in the coming weeks. Join me on Facebook at T. M. Brown Author

Right after the official launch party at the Newnan Carnegie Library, book signings for all three books will be available at Southern Fried Books, 29 Jackson Street, Newnan, GA – my hometown bookstore!
Plan to join the launch party at the historic Newnan Carnegie Library in downtown Newnan, GA. Watch for more info to sign up to be a part of the official book launch.

Testament, An Unexpected Return Complete Character List and Reader’s Study Guide

Click the book image below to gain access to the reader pdf docs of your choice for Testament, An Unexpected Return.

Click on the image to get your complete character list for Testament, An Unexpected Return

Please take a few minutes to leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads, or email me directly. Go to the bookstore tab to find out how to get your copy of Purgatory, A Progeny’s Quest and if you have not yet read Sanctuary, A Legacy of Memories.

Sanctuary, A Legacy of Memories Cast of Characters and Reader’s Study Guide

Follow the link by clicking the book image to get access to either the complete character list or reader’s study guide in pdf format.

Sanctuary, A Legacy of Memories
Click the image to get the complete list of characters of Sanctuary, A Legacy of Memories

Please do not forget to leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads or email me directly.

Go to the bookstore tab to get your copy of Testament, An Unexpected Return or Purgatory, A Progeny’s Quest.

Shiloh Mystery Series began as Theo and Liddy arrive in town and discovers Jessie’s Story

JESSIE MASTERSON, BELOVED COACH AND TEACHER, SACRIFICED HIS LIFE SAVING THE LIVES OF TWO OTHERS THE NIGHT OUR HISTORIC COURTHOUSE BURNED TO THE GROUND…

Follow the link to a preview of Chapter One of Sanctuary, A Legacy of Memories and get introduced to Theo and Liddy as they first enter little old Shiloh for what had been intended to be their peaceful retirement.

After Sanctuary, A Legacy of Memories, read Testament, An Unexpected Return as Theo and Liddy attempt to sink deep roots in their new hometown only to discover their house has a link to the past they get drawn into the middle of a plot aimed to tear the Archer family and Shiloh apart.

Purgatory, A Progeny’s Quest –the third and final book in the series is coming May 5th. Theo and Liddy meet Pepper, a young girl on a quest to find the last member of the only family she has ever known only to discover family she knew nothing about.

Purgatory, A Progeny’s Quest will be the third in the Shiloh Mystery Series. It offers a twist as key characters in Shiloh adjust to the changes in their lives and new additions to lil’ ol’ Shiloh.

Stay tuned to learn more in the coming weeks leading up to the release of Purgatory, A Progeny’s Quest. As my publisher affirmed, this is the best of the three books. You can wait to read Purgatory, a suspense-filled mystery on its own, but you’ll only want to read the first two books after reading Purgatory… Subscribe today and be kept up to date as the launch date nears and the book tour dates are set!

2020 Hometown Novel Nights Kickoff Event

Refreshments and Door Prizes, plus lots of valuable news and information for authors and book lovers alike. Limited seating still available, reserve your free ticket today! Click the image above.

Also, put Sunday afternoon, January 26th, on your calendar for Hometown Novel Nights – Fourth Sunday at The Monarch House in Newnan.

Come join the residents, their friends, family members, and guests like you. Cozy library setting with door prizes and refreshments served.

2019 Hometown Novel Nights Holiday Finale

Jedwin Smith, Larissa Reinhart, and yours truly, T. M. “Mike” Brown enjoyed sharing our writing stories.
Scott Ludwig hands-down provided the most laughs during his unique monologue as the moderator.
https://www.facebook.com/T.M.BrownAuthor/
Find more photos and videos from HNN Holiday Event at the Carnegie Library in Newnan.

2020 Already Offers a Busy Calendar of Events

With one more visit to the Monarch House, December 22nd, Sunday, 2:00 PM, Hometown Novel Nights is blessed to present Mike Nemeth and Holly Moulder to put the final close to our 2019 Calendar of events. Residents, family, and friends at the Monarch House, as well as, guests are welcome to join the audience as Mike and Holly talk about their writing stories and present their books.

To kick-off 2020, January 16th, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM, come out to Southern Fried Books, 29 Jackson Street, Newnan, GA for an informative introduction to what 2020 will bring to authors and book-lovers alike. Steve McCondichie will talk about publishing trends and book events in the coming months, George Weinstein will be talking about networking as an author and upcoming writer conferences, and Angie Gallion, Scott Ludwig, and Mike Brown will talk about what Hometown Novel Nights has on tap with new venues and workshops.

29 Jackson Street, Newnan, GA

Want to join a future author panel or know more about an upcoming event? Visit Hometown Novel Nights

Hometown Novel Nights – Holiday Event

Hometown Novel Nights will host a holiday-themed event Dec. 12 at the Newnan Carnegie Library

A special holiday-themed Hometown Novel Nights will take place at the Carnegie Library on Dec. 12 at 6:30 p.m. 

Scott Ludwig will moderate the panel of authors, which include T.M. “Mike” Brown, Jedwin Smith and Larissa Reinhart, according to Brown, founder and coordinator of Hometown Novel Nights…

Brown will be speaking on his first two books, “Sanctuary: A Legacy of Mysteries” and “Testament: An Unexpected Return” on the panel… For the rest of the article click image above or here (Laurel Huster, Newnan Times-Herald)

The first HNN Fourth Sunday Afternoon at the Monarch House, November 24. The next one will be held on December 22 with Mike Nemeth and Holly Moulder. More scheduled for 2020.

2020 Hometown Novel Nights Preview hosted by Southern Fried Books, 29 Jackson Street, Newnan, GA, January 16th beginning at 6:30 PM.

Guest speakers will be Steve McCondichie, owner of Southern Fried Books and SFK Multimedia LLC; George Weinstein, President of Atlanta Writers Club, Founder of the Atlanta Writers Conference, and author of five novels, including the latest release by SFK Press, “Watch What You Say.” Mike Brown, Angie Gallion, and Scott Ludwig will share the HNN monthly panel lineups already committed for 2020. All authors, writers, and book enthusiasts are invited to attend this informative and interactive program night. Learn what is the latest in the publishing world, author networking, and options to connect with agents and publishers, as well as, Hometown Novel Night vision going forward in 2020. A special event update will be provided at the January program that will impact everyone in attendance… you will want to be on hand to hear the news!

Direct inquiries about future Hometown Novel Nights programs by going to the HNN Facebook page or email. You can also reach HNN through its Instagram link as well.

Remember to catch the HNN Radio Program on WQEE Rock the Key 99.1 FM in Newnan, broadcast live the second Tuesday at 9:30 AM and rebroadcast throughout the month. YouTube podcast link of the radio show will be posted on the Hometown Novel Nights Facebook page.

Sponsored by Southern Fried Books