Official Website of Author, Conference Speaker &

Co-founder of Strong Cross Ministries

New Book - The Melody of the Mulberries

Melody of the Mulberries




The term “wild wonderful West Virginia” was used as early as 1969 before being adapted in the 1970’s as the state slogan. The Melody of the Mulberries is Book Two in the Big Creek Series. Both books are set during the late 1920’s in the wild and wonderful state of West Virginia. The Appalachian mountains were untamed in the 1920’s and remain so in part today. The wonder of the hills is breathtaking , magnificent, and glorious. The morning mist hanging in the lowlands, the dew on the ground, along with the green of spring and the deep red, sparkling gold, and brilliant oranges of fall draw me visually, emotionally, and on some level spiritually to its feral fascination. John Denver recorded in his tribute song to West Virginia, “Take me home country roads to the place I belong…” There are seasons in my life where I long for the steep curvy country roads of my youth. Out of the longing was birthed my two novels. 



Soothing Rain

We need water to survive. Water is not an option for us. Our lives depend on it. Think about how easily a human dehydrates.

Jesus said to the woman at the well, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water..."  John 4:13-14 (ESV)

Here is a delightfully probing individual or group study for spiritually interested, and globally-minded, women. The Word of God lives! Delivered by two highly regarded Christian mentors and communicators, the personal reflection or group discussions lead to spiritual answers related to women's issues. Each devotional subject flows from God's word.

Soothing Rain: Living Water to Refresh Your Soul, 118 pages, is available to libraries, through Baker & Taylor and Identifiers:

  • ISBN-10: 0997897635

  • ISBN-13: 978-0997897630

Faith-the-Appalachian-way is draped in the camouflage of a small West Virginia community. There, a blossoming young woman has been traded into marriage by her superstitious parents who are desperately poor. When key individuals begin carving out a rescue plan, Emerald Ashby grows strong despite grievous wrongs committed against her.


Everything seems twisted when a community preacher connives with evil to trade a farmer's young daughters in marriage for financial gain. Not all is lost when a brother, an aunt, a doctor and a sheriff decide to play a little game of poker on sacred ground. There, a handful of true believers work smartly to correct the scandals brought to light in the ailing town. Cleverly suspenseful and sweetly spoken, the storyteller's unassuming voice creates an Appalachian trail of tears to holy terror against an evil that stalks the innocent.


The Whispering of the Willows, 394 pages, is available to libraries, through Baker & Taylor and Identifiers: LCCN 2016931550 | ISBN 978-0-9971625-4-7 (print) | ISBN 0-9971625-4-6 (print) | ISBN 9780997162554 (ebook)


"The encouragement that Tonya shares in her devotions is important and her authenticity is appreciated!"  

Mischelle Saunders-Gottsch 

Altered Stories - Interview with Mischelle Saunders-Gottsch
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1.     Did you grow up in a family that shared significant chores?  Do you believe that hard work is good for children?

2.     The names of the Ashby girls were precious names.  How do you think that Alma Ashby’s character developed into the split qualities of light and dark that she exhibited?

3.     What importance did church and music play in the working culture of Big Creek?

4.     What can be done for families today who have a family member with a disability? How does that assistance look different from the 1920's?

5.     Do you think you would be capable of caring for a child at the end of your eighth grade year? What aid did Emie have?

6.     Describe why it’s important to help others?

7.     Does helping others create any benefit for the one who helps?

8.     What part does poverty play in the morale of family members, such as choices they make involving their children?

9.     Do you think that Charlie was destined for a life of crime? Were there opportunities along the way for him to put his life on the right path?

10.   How would it have made Charlie’s life different had he experienced a positive mentor?



Whispering of the Willows : Book Club Questions
The Whispering of the Willows was featured on Book Daily!


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