WHY SANCTUARY? 

WHY SANCTUARY? 

What is behind the title of my Southern novel, Sanctuary, A Legacy of Memories? An insight into the concept of Sanctuary that plays out inside my story. T. M. Brown

 

Sanctuary, God or Man
The Church has a Sanctuary but does it offer Sanctuary? Photo by Mike Brown

HOW HAVE WE MISUSED AND MISUNDERSTOOD SANCTUARY? 

Did You Know? Historically, churches have been places where fugitives could seek temporary protection from the law. In Anglo-Saxon England, churches and churchyards provided 40 days of immunity; neither sheriffs nor the army would dare enter to seize an outlaw. However, over time the right of sanctuary eroded as monarchs no longer feared Church authority, beginning with Henry VIII in 1486.

In the 1980s US churches provided sanctuary to Central American political refugees, and the US government mostly chose not to interfere. Today, we have established wildlife sanctuaries where refuge for the protected species is provided within its boundaries, and farm-animal sanctuaries rescue livestock from abuse and starvation.

But the term sanctuary grips the headlines today as local governments and institutions defy federal laws and claim legal rights of sanctuary?

Let’s consider the origination of the term and its meaning.

The Middle English term of sanctuarie derived from the Anglo-French and Late Latin word, sanctuarium, which likewise grew from the old Latin sanctus, means a “holy or sacred” place.

The first known use of the term sanctuary was in the 14th century during the beginning of the Renaissance. A period in history when the Roman Catholic Church held dominion over the affairs of government, science, the arts, and academia. Early Church scholars began to translate ancient Greek and Hebrew manuscripts into Latin, Sanctus replaced the Hebrew terms, qodesh or miqdash, meaning set-apartness. Also, depending on context, the Hebrew word debyir also was translated as Sanctus, though it relayed the idea of a set apart room inside a temple, inferring a holy of holies. A prescribed, protected room where oracles or priests communicated with God. For example, Solomon’s building project in 1 Kings 6 (v.5,16,etc.).

Here are some passages where “sanctuary” or its synonyms have replaced the original Hebrew:

You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain of your inheritance— the place, LORD, you made for your dwelling, the sanctuary, Lord, your hands established. Exodus 15:17

Observe my Sabbaths and have reverence for my sanctuary. I am the LORD. Leviticus 19:30

Do not be stiff-necked, as your ancestors were; submit to the LORD. Come to his sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever. Serve the LORD your God, so that his fierce anger will turn away from you. 2 Chronicles 30:8

They burned your sanctuary to the ground; they defiled the dwelling place of your Name. Psalm 74:7 (a post-exile psalm)

I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. Ezekiel 37:26

What or who made anything a sanctuary, a holy or sacred place where God dwelt to inspire the hearts, minds, and souls of men?

In the Bible, the Greek term hagios carried the meaning of something holy or sacred. The term Saints is actually derived from “o hagios,” inferring to holy ones, and the Holy Spirit comes from the notion of the ultimate holy one. However, the term naos in Greek infers a set apart or most holy room or area in a temple or shrine – similar to what we now call the sanctuary or the worship area inside a church building.

Even Jesus admonished the misuse of anything holy or sacred. Matt 7:6, “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”

What made a person, place or thing holy, sacred, or set-apart? Or, Biblically consecrated?

Since there is but one who is the standard of holiness, the author and perfecter of all persons or things deemed sacred or holy, let us ask a simple question: Who then establishes a sanctuary? Man or God?

How did the concept of sanctuary morph into a legally prescribed safe place, an asylum, or place of refuge?

Granted in the Bible, cities of refuge were established, reference the settling of the Israelites in the Promised recorded in Numbers and Joshua. But, the Hebrew term miklat specifically meant “places that take in” – an asylum or refuge, not a sanctuary. The Hebrew word khasa also inferred taking flight to seek protection, or figuratively, confide in, hope in, or trust in, but still not the same as entering a sanctuary.

Even in the Greek word katapheugo used in New Testament also speaks of fleeing for safety.

So how did the Latin term Sanctus, later sanctuarium or sanctuaries become associated with the connotation of safety and protection from the law?

Let’s begin by considering the notion of the biblical concept of cities of refuge. What purpose did they serve? Did entry into the city of refuge remove the consequences of their sins or guilt?

Cities of refuge were intended to offer protection from hasty acts of blood revenge by angry relatives. However, guilt or innocence still needed to be established by an assembly of elders in the designated refuge city. If determined guilty of murder, death came after a proper course of justice not some act of vengeance. (Ref. Numbers 35; Joshua 20)

However, by the rise of the early Roman Catholic Church, the idea of finding refuge in a church sanctuary existed, and legal authorities could not pursue a fugitive into a church, as I shared in the opening. So, where did this non-biblical idea of sanctuary come to be?

The ancient Greeks and Romans established their version of what a sanctuary or sacred place entailed from which later romanticized medieval laws developed. In Greek and Roman society, temples celebrating their gods could harbor runaway slaves and criminals to a certain extent. These early asylums developed under the belief that their god(s) were inviolable and their temples or holy sites shared this consecrated or untouchable aspect. But, these sacred places were not hideaways where fugitives could go to thumb their nose at the authorities. Petitioners seeking sanctuary still had to atone and pay penance for their crimes.

It is widely accepted, the earliest Christians recognized that pagan temples offered sanctuary or a haven for criminals, and they certainly did not want to be outdone by their pagan rivals. Thus, Christian churches extended criminals protection as well, hoping that asylum seekers might be converted or offered a chance to repent. In the eyes of the early Church, Holy God should provide a more reliable refuge for the sinner than any pagan god and his or her temple.

As Christianity spread across Europe, the Church’s model for sanctuary protections traveled with it. Their codified and standardized version of offering sanctuary became the process best known today.

For asylum seekers to gain sanctuary, they had to enter a church and wait for an appointed officer of the crown (known as a coroner) to arrive. Once the coroner arrived, the seekers had to confess to their crime, whether they committed it or not, and they were then under the protection of the Church. But, slowly, sanctuary laws were rolled back. The number of eligible crimes eligible for sanctuary protection shrank. By 1624, standard sanctuary laws were abolished, making fugitives no safer in a church than they were in the streets.

Who defined the concept of sanctuary? God or the Church?

A. W. Tozer wrote, “The whole world has been booby-trapped by the devil, and the deadliest trap of all is the religious one. Error never looks so innocent as when it is found in the sanctuary. The farther we push into the sanctuary, the greater becomes the danger of self-deception. The deeply religious man is far more vulnerable than the easygoing fellow who takes his religion lightly. This latter may be deceived, but he is not likely to be self-deceived. Under the pressure of deep spiritual concern, and before his heart has been wholly conquered by the Spirit of God, a man may be driven to try every dodge to save face and preserve a semblance of his old independence. This is always dangerous and if persisted in may prove calamitous.”

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So what do I think about the notion of sanctuary? Here are but two offerings from my 15 years of devotional introspection about what sanctuary means…

Value Works Over Words 

Guard your step when you go to the house of God. Better to draw near in obedience than to offer the sacrifice as fools do, for they are ignorant and do wrong. Do not be hasty to speak, and do not be impulsive to make a speech before God. God is in heaven, and you are on earth, so let your words be few. For dreams result from much work and a fool’s voice from many words. Ecclesiastes 5:1-3 (HCSB)

Over many years I observed people from both the back of the sanctuary as well as eyeing them from the pulpit. 

In spite of what most people who regularly attend church want to believe, many arrive each week carrying deeper, personal motivations rather than a desire to merely worship the Lord through joyous melodies and words. They sit dispersed among the regulars who, week in and week out, faithfully return each week to the same pew out of habit, a ritual of ownership etched in stone over the years.

Among those who attend regularly, there are those solely motivated because of the social value of attending church. They eagerly seek an exchange of the latest news and gossip before and after they dutifully bide their time through the worship hour. 

Then there are some inspired to attend ladened by fears and regret. They seek a soothing message to hopefully mollify some nagging guilt within them that they can’t seem to escape. 

Of course, also sprinkled throughout the sanctuary pews are the inevitable attention seekers. The ones who could find their way to the altar blindfolded, and their voices as recognizable as their faces.

There is little doubt; church provides an interesting hodgepodge of people on any given Sunday. I often wonder what God thinks as he looks down upon our stained-glass sanctuaries while he dwells in the only true sanctuary?

Of course, those person(s) in the church who seek attention, hoisting their hands over their heads and voicing their enthusiasm whenever the preacher or worship leader cues the congregation, begs the question. Is God hard of hearing or only responsive to the most animated? Or, are those waving and shouting out only demonstrating how spiritual they want everyone else to believe they are?

Certainly, there are plenty of sincere, God-fearing people filling the pews too, but they’re surrounded by plenty of self-serving, self-focused folks each week. I reckon, in the end, God responds not because of our actions or attitudes on display but the condition of our heart.

For as the Teacher of Ecclesiastes reminds us: We all should be careful with our words when praising the God of creation. It is better to say nothing than offer empty, insincere promises and vows. 

Sincerity and integrity identify a person’s genuine relationship with God, not animated enthusiasm and verbosity. In fact, God responds the loudest within a sincere, silent heart, found more often in the stillness of our daily quiet times with God.

Humility Builds a Sanctuary

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are protected. A rich man’s wealth is his fortified city; in his imagination, it is like a high wall. Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud, but before honor comes humility. Proverbs 18:10-12

Whether at school, at work, the community, or in the church, there are people we meet every day who are in the wall building business. You might even be in that business. Our insecurities demand that we build walls to keep others out. But, why build barriers and walls that keep people out of our lives? 

An insecure person constructs walls that isolate themselves from others so others may never know the truth about them. Erecting walls keeps others at a safe distance, so they really can never focus on the weaknesses of the person cowering behind the walls. 

However, in reality, these walls are just an illusion meant only to keep the person on the inside from seeing clearly and that insecure person misses out on the benefits of developing genuine relationships. They would rather sever themselves from genuine friendships and the joy of loving one another as God had intended. Their pride justifies their insecurity because they exist solely in a relationship with their “self.” What a sad and lonely existence our pride can cause us to enter into when our fears are allowed to rule over us.

The humble have a high tower they can run into, and the walls of this tower are of God’s doing. This secure place is a refuge, a sanctuary, from the tough times in this life, but God never intends to keep you there. It is where a humble heart can find rest and restoration before confidently re-engaging life and its many awkward but rewarding relationships. It also is big enough for all to enter whenever there’s a need for God’s peace and mercy. This high tower also helps you to see more clearly your place and purpose in life. It helps you focus on what is most important, which is never yourself. It is a place where love resides, and all fear disappears. The only price for entry into this refuge is our self! We must come humbled to receive the security that God offers.

How about you? Are you like the one who builds walls to hide behind out of insecurity and pride of “self,” or do you know the way into God’s high tower refuge where security comes from humility? Which leads to genuine life? 

+ + + +

In my estimation: Sanctuary is found whenever and wherever God dwells and offers unadulterated peace and hope. Otherwise, a claim of sanctuary is merely man’s notion to soothe mankind’s guilt-ridden conscience.

What’s the Appeal of Southern Novels

 

What Makes Southern Novels Borderless and Timeless?

What has made Southern novels borderless and timeless? How is it Margaret Mitchell, Flannery O’Connor, Harper Lee, William Faulkner, Robert Penn Warren, Erskine Caldwell, James Dickey, and the legacy of so many other great Southern authors have endured long after they left us? And, today Southern authors like Fannie Flagg, Alice Walker, Kathryn Stockett, Jeswyn Ward, Charles Frazier, Greg Iles, Charles Martin, Rick Bragg, and even John Grisham are still securing their legacy for future generations. 

Let’s not also forget the endless stream of fresh literary voices beckoning us with new Southern-laced literary works that supply the timeless and borderless demand for memorable flawed heroes, victims, and villains depicted in colorful Southern settings.

The South offers fuller moons and windier back roads for a reason.

However, what constitutes great Southern fiction or non-fiction? First of all, truth be told, I don’t know how to write the next best-selling Southern Novel. Of course, if I did happen to know how, I’d be too busy writing it and more than likely have my eyes cast on writing at least three. Three best-selling Southern novels would leave the kind of legacy that any writer would only dream about. But at least I know one when I see one. That’s because really great best-selling Southern novels are discovered, not written. In fact, none of the authors mentioned began writing the next great Southern novel. They merely wrote what resided within them to write. 

Being reared in the South leaves an indelible mark on one’s soul where inspiration and motivation sprouts from fertile memories, the good and the bad, to write compelling stories. Aspiring writers with souls stained and strained growing up in the South cannot write anything else worthwhile. Southern stories are written experientially. An author might learn the mechanics of creative writing, but no classroom can replicate growing up and experiencing life in the South. There’s no better fodder for storytelling than lending an ear to the tall-tales of folks spinning yarns in the South. Such tales may be heard eating dinner, attending church, getting a haircut at a local barbershop, or at a beauty parlor for the women-folk, but let’s not neglect sitting on a neighbor’s porch.

So much of the South is found any evening on the front porch.

I have learned one thing in my sixty-six years, fiction is just the truth and reality wearing a mask and being stretched a might to be more palatable, and often more plausible. You see, more than not, the truth just ain’t as believable as the tall-tales that follow.

Now there are certain trademarks of any Southern story, they revolve around food, family, friendships, faith, and football. Right off, if any story fails to mention the sipping, swallowing, or gulping of sweet tea, consider it suspect right away. Also, in the South, a coke may not mean a Coca-Cola, and whiskey didn’t originate here, but it was perfected here. In fact, the tales of Cooter Brown’s perpetual drunkenness is a Southern-rooted legend.

Grits, gravy, and greens are menu staples, morning, noon and night. Anything else worth eating is also usually fried. Peaches, pecans, and peanuts are the foundation of many epic desserts too.

It may be the 21st-Century, but “Yes, ma’am” and “No, sir” is not derisive retorts but words of respect to our elders. Boys and grown men instinctively grab the door for a woman or young lady. Now, that’s not saying Southern gals don’t have spunk. Lord, just rile a Southern girl and you’ll learn right quick they invented sass. They also know, you know, you likely deserved it. 

When someone approaches on a backroad, there will be a casual exchange of raised fingers atop their respective steering wheels. It’s an evolution of the tradition that declares in the South no one stays a stranger for long. Handshakes and howdies transform strangers into friends whether visiting or just passing through. 

Last but not least, it’s downright hard to distinguish faith from football conversations. They both can offer the same fervor. In the South, the Lord’s Day is Sunday and everyone agrees that God graces every church, small or large, but Saturday, God sports our team colors, sits on our side of the field and favors our victories.

Now there’s a heap more we could wrangle back and forth about on this subject, but I reckon you’ve got the gist. We may not always be able to plainly define it, but we sure know when we have read a great Southern novel. When we come to the last page and close the book we feel sad because it ended. 

T. M. Brown  

 

One earns the other on your shelf
Two books linked with their unforgettable setting and colorful characters
Contact T. M. Brown
Simple contact form

Want to know my “Secret Sauce”?

Click the link below to uncover the “Secret Sauce” that motivated me and brought my wife Connie alongside to bring the Shiloh stories to life.

What I began as a fun project with a small targeted audience of family and close friends blossomed into a far-broader audience than either my wife or I imagined. My publisher, Palmetto Publishing Group has been fantastic, providing the resources and quality books that rival any in a bookstore. They are expanding the reach of Sanctuary, A Legacy of Memories and Testament, An Unexpected Return thanks to their parent company’s resources with added distribution and marketing – Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, SC.

One earns the other on your shelf
Two books linked with their unforgettable setting and colorful characters

However, in the end, I need your assistance and support. Here’s what you can do to help stir the “Secret Sauce.”

  1. Purchase your copy of Sanctuary, A Legacy of Memories and Testament, An Unexpected Return – either Kindle or Paperback, individually or together.
  2. Let others know about the books and what you thought about them. Of course, writing a review on places like Amazon or Goodreads or even on my website’s Review Page is most welcomed, BUT remember, word-of-mouth amongst friends and family always works the best.
  3. Order one or both books for a friend or family member who you believe would enjoy them as a gift.
  4. When you walk into your locally-owned bookstore, ask for the books by title. If they don’t have either on the shelf, tell them a little about the books. Suggest they contact me about arranging an author event.
  5. Simply forward this email to others you know who might enjoy reading new, “all-audience” Southern mystery/suspense stories. Suggest they subscribe for future posts and updates about my third and final book in the Shiloh series, Purgatory, A Progeny’s Quest (Fall 2019).
  6. Explore my Event page and bring friends to one of my upcoming events near you.
  7. Direct your friends to follow me on my Facebook Page (@TMBrownAuthor) and of course, do likewise if you have not done so as well.

T. M. “Mike” Brown

Now, please enjoy the link below found also under my About the Author Page of my webpage… My Secret Sauce resides in A Legacy of Love.

Shiloh Mystery Stories, A Legacy of Love

Testament’s Book Launch Whirlwind First Week

Testament’s Book Launch in Review

From Dahlonega to Newnan to Sale City to Thomasville, we traveled Georgia from one end to the other greeting old friends and making loads of new ones at each stop of our busy first week of the book launch. Enjoy a taste of the sights and sounds of our first FANtastic week introducing Testament, An Unexpected Return (2018), the sequel to Sanctuary, A Legacy of Memories (2017).

Shiloh Art Contest Winner, P. Giles, Newnan
Bridging the storylines
Enjoyed sharing the ongoing story of my Shiloh characters.
Quintessential Shiloh Image brought interest during the launch
“Small Town” painting by P. Giles became the hands-down winner of our Shiloh Art Contest.
Gotta have the sequel!
Some folks traveled over an hour to get their copy of Testament. Thanks, Tara of Carrollton.
Shiloh's Four-legged Hero
Unsung hero of testament, Ringo
Birthdays are always fun during the launch events
Sanctuary celebrated one year, while Testament just got started

Visited old friends for dinner at Lost Creek Steak & Seafood in Sale City, GA. This mural speaks volumes about rural South Georgia life changes. During the evening we met several more new Book-lovers who became new friends too.

Posted by T. M. Brown on Saturday, March 31, 2018

Who says a painting doesn’t speak? This mural is in Sale City at our favorite restaurant owned by dear friends. Why did I choose the setting for Shiloh?

One earns the other on your shelf during the launch
Two books linked with their unforgettable setting and colorful characters
Shiloh enjoys its vittles
Basket of Shiloh Goodies went to Rena in Newnan
Images sell the stories during the launch
Our well-traveled display
Shadows of the Past can never be ignored
The Shiloh Mystery series takes its cast of colorful characters into the suspense-filled story of Testament in the second installment.

http:/https://www.facebook.com/TMBrownauthor/videos/1764399896916082/

Sanctuary got me invited, Testament became the hit!
Dahlonega Regional Writers provided the first venue to share Testament.
Book launch began in Dahlonega
Regional Writer at Dahlonega

Book launch required teamwork!

Book launch teamwork
Connie’s smile is my secret sauce…

The summer season is right around the corner. Have you thought about what you’ll read on the beach, poolside, or rocking on that cabin porch? Why not join the bandwagon that’s discovering the delightful mystery and the “wrinkle-filled suspenseful” sequel that will keep you longing for time-lost small-town life again.

T. M. Brown

Save buying both books!
Buy both together. You’ll thank me later. Checkout the Special price deal on my link.

T. M. “Mike” Brown Q&A Interview

T. M. “MIKE” BROWN Q&A – The Bookshelf, Thomasville, GA


T. M. “Mike” Brown’s a Southern boy at heart, although he’s lived and traveled in many states far removed from his beloved boyhood roots in Georgia and Florida. He returned to his Southern roots and back to college shortly after his youngest son graduated. In the last fifteen years he has preached, taught and coached in Alabama, Georgia and Florida until his wife, Connie, and he moved to Newnan just south of Atlanta and retired to write, travel, and spoil grandchildren. Mike is an active member of the Atlanta Writers Club, Georgia Writers Association, Chattahoochee Valley Writers Conference, and American Christian Fiction Writers. Selected as presenting fiction author at the 2017 Decatur Book Festival, 2017 Milton Literary Festival, and 2018 Dahlonega Literary Festival. Nominated for First Novel category of the prestigious 54th Annual Georgia Author of the Year hosted by the Georgia Writers Association. Finalist for Best Suspense Novel of 2017 by Interviews and Reviews. Sanctuary featured as a “Must Read” in the May/June issue of Southern Writers Magazine, 2017.

LET’S BEGIN THE Q&A!

WHERE DID SANCTUARY START IN YOUR HEAD?

The initial seed of thought got planted the Fall of 2013. My wife suggested I write a story that would contain life lessons for my grandkids. She knew they would not likely sort through all my inspirational and devotional archives. With my wife’s blessing, I retired in January 2014 to devote my full-time resources and time to write such a novel. The story that ultimately became Sanctuary I finished the Summer of 2016 and published April 2017. It went through rigorous changes until it came together thanks to a great writing coach who continues to serve as my editor. She helped me grow the story from the simple notion that a beloved coach died saving others in a horrific courthouse fire. Creating the fictional, time-lost South Georgia town of Shiloh and all the believable, yet colorful characters took months, but now Shiloh and its citizens are all very real to my wife and me. Getting intimately familiar with each citizen, street and building in little old Shiloh allowed the story to unfold. Sanctuary began with an “if, then” premise and I merely wrote each scene that followed. The hardest part of the creative process involved the editing after each draft.

The title, Sanctuary, was suggested by one of the Beta readers, and my wife came up with the subtitle, A Legacy of Memories, which got tacked on the updated 2nd Edition to connect with the new sequel, Testament, An Unexpected Return. Of course, Shiloh’s citizens are lobbying for the third in the Shiloh Mystery Series, Purgatory, A Progeny’s Quest which I plan to publishin 2019.

WHAT DOES YOUR NORMAL WRITING DAY LOOK LIKE?

My wife cleared out the back bedroom for my writing and then kept herself preoccupied during the day running errands, taking care of her mother, and volunteering at the Cancer Treatment Center. Being retired allowed me to devote a minimum of four to six hours a day, five days a week to crafting my novel. There were days my wife still laughs about when she’d knock on my door and ask when I would be getting home from Shiloh because dinner was on the table. I’d smile and say, “give me five minutes,” but I’d end up eating another cold meal an hour later. At least three times a week my wife and I would share a long three-mile walk together. I’d use the hour of fresh air to talk about where I was in the story, and she’d help me with various plot and scene details. No doubt she played a huge role in formulating the airtight facts that came out in the storylines in Sanctuary and Testament. We both wanted realistic, entertaining, and believable stories for the readers to get caught up in reading.

After I finished Testament, we remodeled much of the house, and my writing desk got relocated to a more spacious area of our home that included larger windows, next to the kitchen. Before I moved, someone could bang on the front door, and I’d not hear anything.

Now I am more cognizant of activity in and around the house, and with the kitchen more accessible I can refill my coffee cup or grab an apple or handful of peanuts without disrupting my thoughts.

WAS THE SETTING OF SANCTUARY PERSONAL?

Absolutely! Shiloh did not spring ex-nihilo (out of nothing). For over thirty years business trips took me in and out towns throughout the South. And, after I went back to school to finish some degree work and seminary, I taught, coached, and preached in Lower Alabama, Northern Florida, and South Georgia for ten years. My wife and I experienced firsthand family-centric,
small-town life in the Deep South before we settled outside of Atlanta to retire near family.

Ironically, we ended up buying a home outside of historic Newnan, just beyond the shadows of Atlanta.

The other influence on the selection of Shiloh being in Georgia was my father’s family heritage. Although my grandfather relocated the family to Miami at the end of the Depression, my father’s relatives resided in and around Atlanta for at least three generations. However, only when my father passed did my father’s youngest brother tell me about my father’s travails as a young boy separated from his family out of necessity until my grandfather found work in Miami. I named the wily old barber in Testament Wiley to honor my father and grandfather. A name they both carried.

WHAT ARE YOU READING NOW?

When not reading novels by author-friends, I attempt to shrink my to-be-read stack on my nightstand. At the moment, I am enjoying Camino Island by John Grisham. My stack also usually includes titles by Nicolas Sparks, Charles Martin, David Baldacci and Terry Kay, among others.

IF YOU WERE TO GIVE YOUR BOOK A PARTNER, LIKE A SIGNIFICANT OTHER THAT IT WOULD BALANCE WITH, WHAT BOOK WOULD YOU PAIR WITH IT?

Though I do not claim to be on the same plain or even stratosphere for that matter as John Grisham, either Ford County and The Last Juror would be the likely first choice.

WHO DID YOU HAVE THE MOST FUN WRITING, THEO OR LIDDY?

Got to say, Liddy. I tried to make all my female characters to portray unique, believable, and desirable qualities, while also causing a chuckle once in a while by their antics in the story. I learned to listen intently to my wife and my editor when it came to writing scenes featuring my female characters. Of course, after 47 years together, it’d be hard not to give Liddy some of Connie’s traits and quirks.

 Available March 27, 2018

That concludes the Q&A!

Mike Brown, or T.M Brown, was incredibly helpful during the interview process. He was so nice and so respectful in his replies and responses to my questions!

He will be at The Bookshelf on Sunday, March 31st (2018) from 2-4PM.

You can also check out our Facebook events by clicking the Facebook icon to the right and then going to our Upcoming Events!

I hope everyone enjoyed the Q&A and hope to see you at the store on the 31st to participate in fun, author meet&greet, and Sanctuary book talk! (The sequel to Sanctuary, Testament, An Unexpected Return launched today and he will have plenty of copies of both books on hand.)

-Zoe
March 27, 2018

https://www.bookshelfthomasville.com/blog/2018/3/5/mike-brown-qa

Testament Reviews

 

Testament is another outstanding novel by author T. M. Brown
on February 19, 2018
Testament is another outstanding novel by author T. M. Brown. It’s a page-turning mystery, with plenty of suspense. I have read this author’s previous novel Sanctuary and enjoyed it very much. But I like Testament even more. It has a more in-depth level of mystery and intrigue. Good plot twists that will keep you guessing until the end. The book revolves around people living in Shiloh, a small town in south Georgia. We met these characters in the previous book, although some new characters are also involved. If you enjoy reading mysteries, you will love Testament. A great read.

Why Did I Choose Shiloh for My Story’s Setting?

Why Did I Choose Shiloh for My Story’s Setting?

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 this once proud town 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, not much different from many real-life rural towns in South Georgia. Shiloh’s conciliation arrived as its beloved courthouse received a facelift and interior redesign to make it into a functioning city hall. However, the facelift and remodeling of the sesquicentenary courthouse left the edifice’s skeleton of 19th Century hewn timbers and ornate woodwork in tact. 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.

All good fiction has its roots deeply planted and nourished in the soil of truth and reality. The settings and characters in our novels do spring 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.

T. M. Brown
www.TMBrownAuthor.com

Sanctuary, An Legacy of Memories (2nd Edition, January 2018)
Newly retired publishing executive, Theo Phillips, and his wife, Liddy, decide to leave the shadows of Atlanta behind and return to their South Georgia roots in time-lost Shiloh. While making new friends, Theo’s interest in a memorial launches him smack dab in the middle of scandal and dark secrets. As Theo digs deeper into the mysterious fire that stole the town’s landmark courthouse and a town hero, he 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.

Testament, An Unexpected Return (coming March 2018) – Cover release, February 9th.
The sequel picks up the story of little old Shiloh eight months later and significant changes have taken place in Shiloh. New faces from the town’s past emerge as Testament’s tale unfolds. The citizens in Shiloh understand they cannot change their pasts, but they realize their pasts can haunt them in the present in ways no one could predict. A subtle reminder that God orchestrates the course of history for all men, but he allows men to choose how they will come to terms with the events of history as they unfold. As the ending of the story states, “The testament of a man lies not in the magnitude of possessions and property left to his heirs, but the reach of his legacy long after his death.”

Purgatory, A Progeny’s Quest (projected release 2019)

Mike, to all his friends, is a Southern boy at heart, although he’s lived and traveled in many states far removed from his beloved boyhood roots in Georgia and Florida. He returned to his Southern roots several years ago while his two sons were still in school and regularly traveled throughout the South before returning to college shortly after his youngest son graduated. In the last fifteen years he has preached, taught and coached in Alabama, Georgia and Florida until his wife and he moved outside of Atlanta and retired to write, travel, and spoil grandchildren.

Authorpreneurs Never Cease to Bang the Drum

Are you banging your drum?

Authorpreneurs Never Cease to Bang the Drum

 

An Authorpreneur accepts there are no shortcuts around dedication, discipline, and determination to reach the desired destination you first envisioned when you began writing your book(s). There’s a vast population of good books heaped upon the pile every day that the author abandoned to the winds of chance and opportunity to promote and sell their books. Then there are likewise scores of success stories in the publishing world about authors who made the best-sellers lists, but when you examine their books, you wonder why yours didn’t succeed.

The answer to the why is tenacity – they persisted and persevered while others threw their hands up and walked away. They fixed anything broken but kept forging ahead until their book built the momentum that launched the bandwagon syndrome. Once the bandwagon begins to roll, no one wants to be left out. That’s when the magic happens, and promotion and marketing of your book become fun.

Why do folks race to follow the bandwagon??

Authorpreneurs understand the value of hype and hysteria to draw people to open and then purchase their books. However, don’t stir up unwarranted hype and hysteria to get attention, because that can cause irreparable harm. Stir up the gradual, crescendoing din of growing interest in you and your books. As the noise increases, more and more people will be encouraged to comment on and suggest your book to others. Favorable crowd noise is your friend, but don’t ignore any negative buzz among the din of whispers. Snuff the buzz by addressing the growing murmurs. You’ll never silence all negativity; listen and decide the warrant for their objections, and then take action.

Do you remember why you chose to write in the first place? After experiencing all the twists and turns along the publishing journey, you can lose sight of why you decided to become an author. Compromise is the first side-step toward seeking a shortcut. Turn deaf ears to promises of alternative paths that sound too good to be true. The only truth will be those promises will cost you your dream and your pocketbook. Neither bribery nor ransom can purchase the success you first envisioned. Only patience, persistence, and perseverance can redeem the price of success.

Remember the WHY of your journey; it is the secret sauce that fuels your internal drive as an author. No one will bang your drum like you, and no one can get your book’s bandwagon rolling but you.

T. M. Brown

mike@TMBrownAuthor.com

 

Authorpreneurship – The Secret Sauce

Abra Cadabra Magical Potion

The Secret Sauce Key Ingredient: Confidence in Yourself!

No matter what discipline you have invested your valuable time and effort throughout life’s journey, Your invested Preparation and Perseverance have nurtured Self-Confidence, the key ingredient in your Secret Sauce to success as an aspiring author.

Fact of life: Wallflowers never make it to the dance floor – their shyness shuns potential dance partners away. Wallflowers feel awkward and unsure, and prefer watching rather than dancing at a party. Some Wallflowers only bloom when secluded and alone, but who gets to enjoy the beauty of a solitary wallflower?

Don’t settle being a two-dimensional WALLFLOWER…
Blossom into a multi-dimensional AUTHORPRENEUR.

WHAT’S AN AUTHORPRENEUR?

First of all, an Author is someone who writes books as a profession.

And, an Entrepreneur is a person who organizes and operates a business, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so; a promoter in the entertainment industry.

Therefore, an AUTHORPRENEUR would be someone engaged in writing books as a profession with a business-like mindset willing to accept greater than normal financial risks in order to be successful – ergo, also a self-promoter in the literary entertainment world.

Let’s face it, for an AUTHORPRENEUR, writing books is no longer considered an avocation, but a vocation. Success is measured by the numbers of books sold versus royalties earned, minus out-of-pocket costs.

Those happy to continue writing as an avocation – a hobby or minor occupation – will be content just watching others on the dance floor. They don’t get flustered by their lack of sales and royalties. They justify their time and investment as self-satisfying.

However, those desiring to grow their writing into a vocation have a strong feeling of suitability for becoming an author (a writer of books as a profession) and desire their books to be regarded as worthy and of value to others, and are dedicated to not only writing but also promoting what they write.

* * *

Beyond honing one’s writing skills to be an author, consider these biblical principles as practical advice for growing as an Authorpreneur:

Proverbs 27:17… As iron sharpens iron, so one man (or woman) sharpens another.

Does your network of like-minded authors inspire and encourage you?

Is your platform or audience engaged and eager to invest in your books?

Eccl 4:12… Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves, but a cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Have you built a strong team, i.e., editors, writing coaches, critique partners, and others as needed to produce and promote your book(s)?

Proverbs 15:22… Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers, they succeed.

Writing a compelling book is hard enough, but what thoughts have you given to the process of publishing and promoting your book?

John Donne wrote: No man is an island, entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main… therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

An AUTHORPRENEUR understands the risk of attempting to be an island in the sea of books that are flooding the market every day!

An AUTHORPRENEUR understands the splash needed to create a ripple effect that will cause his or her book to stand out and get noticed.

Are you stuck with your back to the wall at the dance – a Wallflower, never reaching the dance floor? Or, are you ready to dance in the spotlight?

More tidbits about AUTHORPRENEURSHIP to follow… You can also look to a future workshop in your area.

T. M. Brown