Coming Soon!

LnF for sharing

Cleveland, 1922: Crime-fighting Mayor Richard Leon has been missing for over a year, and under John Lackland’s administration, corruption has gone from bad to worse. Now, newlyweds Robin Locksley and Marian Fitzwalter and a band of like-minded friends have established a detective agency in the suburb of Nottingham, intent on acting when the police won’t. But when their first client, Eleanor Curtmantle, reveals that Leon has been kidnapped by bootleggers, the race is on to find and rescue him before Lackland and his goons can kill the mayor and the city in one blow.

Locksley & Fitzwalter: The Case of the Missing Mayor is now available for ebook preorders on Amazon and Smashwords and will release in both ebook and paperback on December 1 (or, for the paperbacks, as close to it as possible).

New releases–not all mine!

Lots happening on the publishing front in the near future! Of Myths and Men: An Anthology is now available for pre-order and will officially release on July 21. I’m hoping GR8 Greeks will follow in the next month or two, but I haven’t heard definitely. Our lovely and gracious editor, Caitlin L. McCulloch, has also just published the third book in her Francine the Monster children’s series, Francine Appreciates Art, illustrated by Rayan Turner.

In further Witty Word Press news, I’m involved in several more anthologies coming out in the next year:

  • FOUR, in which my character suddenly finds herself one of only four people left on Earth;
  • BC Now, modern adaptations of Bible stories–mine will be based on the Book of Daniel;
  • The Day Before, differing perspectives on August 5, 1945, the day before the bombing of Hiroshima;
  • and The Rough, a space Western anthology (YEEHAW!).

I do hope to get Loyal Valley: Diversion finished in there somewhere, but a lot depends on health and other work demands. (Your pledge on Patreon or donation through Ko-fi can help make it happen faster–the less I have to scrape for a living, the more time I have to write!) If you’d like to see some fun Loyal Valley content sooner, however, I’m participating in #WIPJoy on Facebook this month, hosted by Bethany A. Jennings.

I also want to plug a couple of non-fiction books by friends of mine that are also available for pre-order. If you already follow my Facebook page, you’ve probably seen a few videos I’ve shared in which O. Alan Noble discusses his new book Distruptive Witness: Speaking Truth in a Distracted Age, published by InterVarsity Press. That comes out on July 17. And on December 6, Our Sunday Visitor will be releasing Amanda Martinez Beck’s memoir Lovely: How I Learned to Embrace the Body God Gave Me.

Coming soon!

Teaser image courtesy of Caitlin L. McCulloch of Witty Word Wire

Frank Ross might seem like any other young man who’s struggling to care for a disabled sibling on low pay in a bad economy. But Frank’s in a bigger pickle than most: his brother Toby bears the stigmata, the marks of Christ’s Crucifixion, and bleeds in the presence of evil. When white supremacists riot in their neighborhood, Toby lands in the hospital alongside the best friend he’s never met and her three flatmates, all of whom are prophets. Yet this one day of intense suffering may bring all six of them a happy ending none of them have foreseen.

Of Myths and Men: An Anthology is coming soon (mid-May, tenatively) from Witty Word Press. I’m thrilled to be able to contribute to this project, not only because it gives me a chance to call Enola my writing partner in an official capacity, but also because my dear friend Caitlin is organizing it and her sisters are pitching in with copy-editing and illustration! The rest of the stories in the anthology sound intriguing, too, so don’t buy it just on my account. 😀

Updates and Requests

How is it almost Independence Day already?!

As I mentioned in my last post, it’s been a tough few months, for health reasons and quite a lot more. God’s closed some doors I was really counting on, and I’m struggling mightily because I don’t understand why. But giving up is not an option, and I do in fact have some fun projects and events lined up for this summer:

  • Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of my CafePress shop! I just updated it a couple of weeks ago with three new designs and a big batch of new products, and I’m hoping soon to launch another new set of designs inspired by The Dream of the Rood.
  • The Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale starts Saturday and ends 7/31! Loyal Valley: Assassination will be FREE with coupon code SSW100, and my other three books will be 50% off with coupon code SSW50. (This offer applies only to Smashwords ebook sales.)
  • My friend Caitlin is having another book launch party on Facebook this coming Sunday, this time to celebrate the release of her new poetry collection, and I’ll be taking over–probably to do a reading, though whether or not it’ll be live I don’t yet know–at 3 p.m. CDT. And part of what I’ll be talking about is…
  • My friend Peter G. Epps has challenged me to a creative race! The project I’m planning to tackle is a hardcover coffee table book of calligraphed poems, with a section of my own poetry and a section of classics. (I have plans for Kipling’s “The Gods of the Copybook Headings,” oh yesss, precioussss!) I may try a Kickstarter campaign to cover the costs of self-publishing this volume, but I’ll decide on that when it gets closer to being ready to scan and prep for printing.
  • I also hope, sooner than later, to launch an Etsy shop for my crocheted snoods and reticules (and anything else that takes my fancy).
  • And of course, I still want to finish at least Loyal Valley: Diversion, possibly get the first omnibus volume out (which might also involve a Kickstarter campaign), and possibly start to work on the next Order of the Silver Star book.

All of which is the sort of thing I’d love to be able to do full-time, or as close to it as I can get in my current condition, because except on the very worst days, it’s much easier for me to do creative work even when I’m not feeling so hot than it is to focus on intensely left-brained work.

But of course, there’s one major hang-up: I am flat broke. I need to make at least $1000/mo. to make ends meet. As sick as I’ve been all year, though, I haven’t been able to take enough freelance projects to cover the gap between my teaching income and my budget, and what little buffer I had built up in the fall is gone. The school doesn’t pay me in the summers, either, and there are annual expenses like my antivirus program subscription coming up in July. Nor can I cut anything at all from my budget without losing my independence–what doesn’t go to housing and utilities goes to business expenses and student loans. As things stand now, I have to prioritize paying work over creative work… and pickings are slim on that front as well.

If I’m going to make any of my planned creative projects happen this summer, dear readers, I desperately need your help.

Patreon may be the most attractive option if you’re willing to just give me money. It’s a monthly subscription service, although you can make a one-time gift by cancelling your subscription after the first month’s payment is sent to me. Plus, patrons who donate $5 or more per month get exclusive sneak previews of my projects and a host of other rewards. If you’d rather buy some of my work, well, I’ve already given you those links earlier in this post! Or you can hire me as a translator or editor, and I’m open to calligraphy or crochet commissions within reason.

I want to finish all these projects eventually in any event, but it’ll happen a whole lot sooner and with a much happier, healthier me if I can count on your financial support.

Pretty please?


Hot off the keyboard: can you guess the meaning of this coded telegram that will appear (in some form) in Loyal Valley: Diversion?


New Year, New Plans

So, long time no blog, eh wot? Joys of chronic illness….

As frustrating as the latter third of 2015 was for me health-wise, however, I’m determined not to let such things hold me back (at least as far as I can do anything about them) in 2016. I plan to finish at least Loyal Valley: Diversion, release an omnibus collection of the first four volumes in that series, and commission audiobooks of everything that’s out thus far. I still plan to participate in Fort McKavett’s West Texas Heritage days (now in May) and hope to do the same at Fort Martin Scott and possibly some other living history events in the area. And there’s a potential opportunity that I’ll share more about if it gets closer to reality.

And you can help make all these things happen.

I’ve taken the plunge and signed up for Patreon, which allows you to pledge recurring monthly support–as little as $1/mo. or as much as you want to give. Various levels of support will receive a variety of rewards, like exclusive sneak previews of book content and acknowledgement here and in print. The more funds I can raise in this way, the less time I’ll have to spend scraping together a living through freelancing and the more time I can devote to writing and research.

(I don’t currently plan to quit teaching, even if I no longer need the money. Teaching is fun.)

I’ve also got myself a YouTube channel now. Not that I know what I’ll do with it yet–it might be more for Patreon stuff–but it’s there. 😀 I’d like to get back to Literature You Should Know over on Smash Cut Culture, too, assuming I have the time and energy.

So that’s what’s new with me. Alles Gute zum Neuen Jahr!

Coming SOON!


Murder, especially mass murder, will out. When civilian investigators stumble upon part of Number Seven’s schemes in the summer of 1870, Lt. Col. Clint Donovan and two of his teammates must race halfway across Texas to save their lives and find out what they know. But even that may solve only half of the problem—especially when Clint and his men meet the ladies involved.

Life on the frontier has plenty of risks of its own, however, and not just from the elements. A husband-hunting New York socialite runs away to Loyal Valley, only to discover that dime novels don’t reflect what Texas is really like. And she’s not the only one in danger when an old enemy returns to wreak more havoc of his own accord.

There’s more to war than bullets, wits, and nerve. Who will keep his head and his life, and who will lose his freedom… or his heart?

Yes, Loyal Valley: Captives is now available for ebook pre-orders through Smashwords and KindleDirect! I aim to have paperbacks available by the time the ebooks officially release on Aug. 31.

Also, for new readers, I’m offering the first two books in the series for 99¢ apiece on Smashwords for a limited time! Use coupon code ZB26E for Assassination and DR88E for Bystanders. Please note, however, that these coupons are good only at Smashwords and only through September 9!

Ashley Fetches a Hat

A/N: I’m fighting some writer’s block today, so have this blog-exclusive bit of Loyal Valley fluff!

Ashley Fetches a Hat
By Elisabeth G. Wolfe

Today’s been a good day. Master’s moving very well, and I got to take him for a walk twice! And it’s been sunny and clear but not too hot—a pity Master can’t see it, but he can feel it, so walks are good. But I’m off duty now, so Master says I can go with Jake and Mike while they go out to put the horses in the barn.


Jake and Mike are busy and can’t play, but that’s okay because I’m OUTSIDE and everything is wonderful. I can attend to—ahem—business, and I can inspect the garden and make sure the raccoon hasn’t stolen any tomatoes, and I can run and romp and not spook the horses, Ashley, good girl. And I can check the perimeter and… ooh, hey, there’s a deer! Hi, deer, let’s play! Sure, run and I’ll chase you. And then… oh, wait, hi, rabbit! Do you want to play? Boy, you’re fast! Let’s run!

Don’t run away! I’m just….


There’s a human out here, a man with a horse.

A stranger.

And he’s on the wrong side of the hill.

I’m too far from the house. If I bark, it won’t bring help, but if I go back now, I can’t tell anyone there’s a man out here. He’s probably got a bangstick, so I can’t just chase him off. I’ll have to bring him closer.

Right. First things first: find the man.

There he is. He’s lying on the ground, and his horse is standing next to him. There’s a big bangstick in the thing that hangs from the saddle, and I think I see little bangsticks on his belt. Tricky. But I think… yes, I think I know what to do.

Ruff down. Ears up. Tail wagging. Approach with caution. Hi, mister, want to play?

He sees me and snorts. “Go ’way, y’dumb dog.”

Who, me? (Wag, wag… look innocent, get closer….)

“Go on, mutt. Git.” He puts his hat over his face.

That’s it. Now slowly… slowly… slowly… got your hat!

“Hey, gimme that!”

Back away, tail wagging, but not too far. Come and get it, you stranger.

He swipes for it. I dodge. He gets up—yes, that’s right, come play with me, mister. He tries again; I dodge again. Come on, come on, a little further from the horse… that’s right… and—DASH! Zig, zag, spin him ’round, spook the horse! Horse goes one way, I go the other, and I don’t care which of us he follows as long as he doesn’t shoot.

But he doesn’t. He can’t. He doesn’t want anybody to know he’s out here. So he runs after me, but I’m like the deer and the rabbits—zig, zag, zoom! Over the hill, down and down, back and forth, and then—there’s the windbreak! DASH! Jake, Mike, Jake, Mike, Jake, Mike….

“Aaashley!” Jake’s calling, whistling.

“Ashley!” That’s Mike.

Jake Mike Jake Mike Jake Mike…

“I think I hear her—Ashley!”


“Ashley, where have you—what the hell?

“Whose hat is that?”

Can’t stop! There’s the house! Clint, Jim, HAT! Daniel, Bella, HAT!

“What the—” That’s Daniel. “Whose hat?”

“There’s someone out there!” That’s Clint, and he’s already going for a big bangstick.

But I don’t stop until I’m in front of Master and drop the hat in his lap. Then I sit like a good girl. I brought you a hat, Master!

He runs his hands over it, surprised. “Ashley, what in the world—”

Bark, bark, growl, sneeze! There’s a bad guy out there!

Clint and Daniel and Jim have all run outside. Jake and Mike are shouting something, and then there’s shooting.

“Okay!” yells the bad man. “All right, all right, I surrender!”

Then there’s a lot more yelling I don’t understand. Bella’s got a little bangstick, and she comes over to Master’s chair. “It’s me, Marty,” she tells him.

He turns his head toward her. “Bella? What’s going on out there?”

She shakes her head. “Whoever it is, it looks like Clint or someone got him in the arm. Mike’s got him in custody.”

I huff. Good riddance.

“Jim’s bandaging the man’s arm. Now Mike’s tying him up. Daniel’s going to the barn, and so is Jake… I guess they’re taking him to Mason. Oh, here come Clint and Jim.”

Clint and Jim come in and put their bangsticks back on the rack and close the door. And then they start laughing.

“What’s so funny?” Master asks.

“Fella gave up without much of a fight,” Clint says, coming over to us. “Seems he knows when the jig’s up. But he said that’s the first time he’s ever been busted by a dog!”

“Is he—”

“Nah, just a rustler. Said he’d been scoping out the herd all day and had just decided to take a quick nap before sundown, and then he’d planned to swipe a few head after dark, take ’em to Mexico.”

“His horse is still out there somewhere,” Jim adds. “Jake’s going to look for it, while Mike and Daniel take our prisoner to Mason. He’s probably wanted for something or other.”

Bella laughs and puts her bangstick down. “Ashley fetched a rustler. Will wonders never cease?”

Master reaches down to scratch me behind the ears. “Good girl, Ashley!”

I smile and wag my tail. All in a day’s work.

© 2015 Elisabeth G. Wolfe. All rights reserved.

“Why would a good Christian girl….”

I wasn’t sure whether I should post this, for fear of being accused of answering questions that haven’t been widely asked. (Let’s face it: I’m not exactly burning up the best-seller lists right now!) But I do know of at least one person who has been disappointed, however briefly, with the fantasy content in Look Behind You, and I’m sure there may be others. “Why,” the question runs, “would a good Christian girl be studying the occult to write a book like this?”

The thing is… I didn’t study the occult. I didn’t have to.

Much of my information came from folktales, especially Irish and Scottish fairytales and the legends of King Arthur and the Round Table, though some American Indian mythology also comes into play. I consider such literature mostly harmless, and many fairytales carry good lessons. The Ethics of Elfland from G. K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy, C. S. Lewis’ reflections in On Stories and Other Essays, and J. R. R. Tolkien’s On Fairy-Stories all discuss ways in which the right kinds of fantasy, and fairytales in particular, can be extremely useful as part of a Christian’s literary diet.

(IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: There are wrong kinds of fantasy. I’ve actually known someone whose spiritual life got messed up by reading the wrong books, and I’m pretty picky about what I read myself. Yet–and this is crucial–no two people will react the same way to the same book. I know very godly people in the Harry Potter fandom, over which other very godly people have expressed concerns that I think are valid; I know people who’ve gone astray over The Lord of the Rings, which Tolkien himself called “a fundamentally religious and Catholic work” [Letter 142 to Father Robert Murphy, Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien]. In this area, as in all things, each believer needs to exercise prayerful discernment for his or her own walk… and not presume to make his or her needs or preferences an absolute rule for everyone else.)

But the rest, quite literally, is history. Many people know, for example, that Hitler and Himmler were interested in astrology and the occult. What may not be as readily apparent, and what didn’t register for me until I worked on translating The Apostolic Fathers: An Introduction, is the insidious nature of even one of the best-known bits of Nazi propaganda, the concept of the “thousand-year Reich.” Translation has done us English-speakers a disservice here. The term der tausendjährige Reich doesn’t only refer to a hypothetical thousand-year Nazi kingdom; it was and is the theological term usually rendered in English as the Millennial Kingdom or the Millennial Reign, the period prophesied in Revelation 20:2-7 during which Jesus will return, bind Satan, and establish a thousand-year reign of absolute peace on earth. Hitler’s use of the phrase was deliberate blasphemy.
And it gets worse. Here’s one of my sources, a History Channel documentary that argues that the Nazi Party was a full-blown cult:

If you prefer a more scholarly print source, Heather Pringle’s The Master Plan: Hitler’s Scholars and the Holocaust documents in greater detail the SS obsession with the occult and attempts to resurrect ancient German paganism.

In all honesty, I have zero desire to study magic. The danger of genuine magic, as opposed to mere sleight-of-hand trickery, is that it attempts to force reality to bend to a human’s will. There are, of course, perfectly acceptable non-magical ways of getting nature to do what you want it to do; that’s called technology, which is subject to its own questions of ethics and morality. But magic seems, at least on the surface, to fall into one of two formulas:

Do you have problem W? Do X, Y, and Z, and your problem will go away.


Do you want D? Do A, B, and C, and you will get exactly what you want.

And from where I stand, what you plug into those blanks makes not a dime’s bit of difference–killing a black cat at 3 a.m. on a starless night of the new moon, washing your hands in a silver basin by moonlight, rearranging your furniture just so and painting your walls a certain color, or (dare I say it?) thinking happy thoughts and telling God what you want and sending $50 to your favorite televangelist. At best, it won’t work, and either you receive something good that would have happened anyway or you get no results at all and end up wondering what you did wrong. At worst, you end up in league with powers beyond your understanding or control, powers that want nothing more than your absolute destruction.
Prayer doesn’t work that way. Prayer submits reality to God’s sovereign control, humbly presenting petitions with full trust in His goodness and seeking to align our will with His will. That’s why “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much”–and that’s also why, if you pay close attention, the only ‘spell’ I write out in Look Behind You is actually a prayer. That power is the only power I need… and even when I write fantasy that involves an element of horror, I will always show that prayer trumps magic, because that is the truth.