Cyber Monday Sale!!!

40% Off Plus FREE Standard Shipping at with Coupon Code CYBERMONDAY40

Yes, this includes my books!

A Musket in My Hands

Two sisters have no choice but to join the men they love and muster into the Confederate army and in the fall of 1864—in time for things to go very badly for Southerners at the Battle of Franklin. This book is 2019 Serious Writer Medal Fiction Winner and a 2019 Selah Award Finalist.



A Rebel in My House

A wounded Confederate soldier on the first day of battle leaves a Gettysburg seamstress with a heart-wrenching decision. Both have made promises. Some promises are impossible to keep. This book won the 2018 Illumination Silver Award and second place in 2018 Faith, Hope and Love Readers’ Choice Award. 


A Stranger in My House

A young woman finds a wounded Union soldier outside her Tennessee home in this 2015 IRCA Finalist and Christian Small Publishing Book of the Year 2016 Finalist.


The Cowboys

Taming the West … one heart at a time

Hart’s novella, Trail’s End, in “Smitten Novella Collection: The Cowboys” is set in the wild cattle town of Abilene, Kansas, in 1870.



Mt. Zion Ridge Press is also having a Cyber Monday Sale!

From November 30 – December 2, all books are 10% off with the coupon code CYBER

Yes, this includes my books!

Christmas Fiction Off the Beaten Path

Not This Year in “Christmas Fiction Off the Beaten Path,” is Sandra Hart’s heartwarming, nostalgic story of a hardworking family man facing difficult times at Christmas.

Mt. Zion Ridge Press

From the Lake to the River

A collection of stories set in Ohio by Ohio authors

Everyday citizens become heroes in Sandra Hart’s Surprised by Love novella in “From the Lake to the River,” set during the 1913 flood in Troy, Ohio.

Mt. Zion Ridge Press




31 Verses Every Believer Should Know by Sean Bess

He was Born to be

Jesus was born to be God with us, human like us, our servant, our light, and our Savior.

What a great devotional book for preparing our hearts for Christmas!

Each devotion begins with a scripture. Several of the devotional thoughts used examples from historical figures like Paul Revere, President Abraham Lincoln, and Harriet Tubman. Then it shifts our thoughts back to Jesus’ birth and shows how the example ties in.

Each chapter ends with thought-provoking questions.

I really liked reading this devotional to prepare my heart for the Christmas season. It’s creative with insightful devotions.

A great book for Christians and those seeking to know what the Bible teaches us about Jesus.

-Sandra Merville Hart



Mom’s Chicken and Dumplings

by Sandra Merville Hart

My mom made chicken and dumplings fairly often when I was growing up. As the cold weather approaches, this is still one of my favorite comfort meals. My family likes it almost as much as I do, especially my husband. My grandmother rolled out dumplings but my mom used a recipe for “drop” dumplings, which I like because it’s quicker.

3 chicken breasts

1 quart of chicken stock or chicken broth or 1 quart of water with 5 chicken bouillon cubes

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons salt

4 ½ teaspoons baking powder

6 tablespoons Crisco shortening

1 ½ cups milk

Cover chicken with broth (or chicken stock or water with bouillon cubes) in a crockpot and cook on low at least five hours or until tender.

When chicken is done, remove from broth and allow it to cool. Save this broth. Then shred the meat with 2 forks.

In a large saucepan, add the reserved broth and chicken. Bring to a low boil.

Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add shortening and blend it into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or a fork. Stir in milk until blended together.

When the broth gently bubbles (on medium to medium high heat) drop the dumplings into the broth by rounded teaspoon.

Cook about 10-15 minutes and then serve.

I’d love to hear if you try this recipe. Enjoy!

Interview with the Heroine of A Musket in My Hands

by Sandra Merville Hart

Today I am interviewing the heroine of my Civil War romance, A Musket in My Hands, Callie Jennings. I hope you enjoy meeting this feisty, courageous woman from Tennessee!

1) Callie, just where is Cageville, Tennessee? What is your home like?

The town of Cageville is in western Tennessee. It was named for Licurgus Cage, one of our first merchants. The town became known as Alamo in 1869. They renamed it as a memorial to folks who died at Battle of the Alamo—and to Davy Crockett.

Our farm is about a mile outside of town. We don’t have any close neighbors, just lots of trees near our cleared fields. Empty now, except for an acre plot that I planted to keep us from starving. I hope it’s too small for the Yankees to notice it much.

The biggest city nearby that you might have heard of is Jackson. I’ve never been there, but Louisa—my sister—and I told our soldier comrades that we came from a place outside of Jackson. We didn’t want the other soldiers to find out where we were from and tell our pa where to find us.

2) What are the living conditions like where you are in the summer of 1864?

Oh, things are bad. After the Yankees took our crops, Pa stopped planting. Said he wasn’t going to plow and plant just so the Yankees could steal it from us.

Louisa works at the mercantile. They pay her in food so that helps put meals on the table. I planted a garden, hoping the Federal soldiers that ride by our farm don’t take notice of it. It’s not much, but that food should keep us alive this winter.

 Other folks in town are doing about the same as us.

3) I hear your pa is a Confederate ranger. What are he and the Confederate soldiers fighting for? And has it been worth the toll it’s taken?

Yep, Pa is too old for soldiering, but he found a way to fight for his country. He and his friend, Ezra Culpepper, joined a cavalry guerrilla group. They go out on missions and then come home, pretending to be nothing more than average citizens while in town.

I know the South needs all the help they can get to win this war, but I hate what being a ranger has done to my pa. He never used to drink like this. I think he drinks to forget about those missions.

4) Are you really engaged to your pa’s friend? Rumor has it that your heart belongs to someone else.

No! I’m not going to marry a man thirty years my senior, no matter what Pa agreed to on my behalf. Pa’s mind is made up so I have to figure out something.

 I love Zachariah Pearson. Zach never courted me before the war and now the fighting is about all he thinks of. But I’m the only girl in town he writes to—I know because I asked all the other single ladies. That makes me special, doesn’t it?

5) Tell us something about your true beau, Zach?

Oh, what I could tell you about Zach. We’ve been friends since his aunt and uncle took him in after his parents drowned. That was when he was fourteen, eight years ago. It was a tough time for him. He and his cousin, Nate McClary, grew as close as brothers.

Zach is a handsome man, especially in his Confederate gray. I love his green eyes and the way his brown hair curls right before it gets cut. I always thought he might court me … and then the war started. He trained at Camp Trenton in September of 1861. I’ve only seen him on his furloughs since then.

6) How would you describe yourself?

Oh, I’m not much to look at. Louisa takes after Ma. With her blue eyes and blonde hair, she’s the real beauty of the family. She knows it, too.

I got my auburn hair from Pa. His brown eyes, too. My hair is curly so I have to keep it pinned in a bun on top of my head. Wish I was prettier, though. Maybe Zach would notice me.

7) How do you plan to avoid marriage to your pa’s friend and how does your sister, Louisa, fit into all this?

Oh, Louisa’s got a plan. She’s the adventurous one. She’s been reading newspaper reports about women disguising themselves as Confederate soldiers. She’s been after me to muster into the army to avoid marrying Mr. Culpepper.

But Louisa has her own reasons for joining the army. She’s heard reports that her fiancé, Nate McClary, has been flirting with other women. I don’t want to think badly of him … but I’m afraid the reports are true.

8) Disguising yourselves as men to join the Confederate army is risky. Aren’t you worried your disguises might be found out?

Louisa and I have done our best to disguise ourselves as men so we can muster into the army. I’ve sewn trousers, coats, and blouses for both of us. Louisa sewed padding onto our underclothing to hide our shapes. Our blouses and coats fit loosely so that should help.

We’ve practiced walking like men, talking like men.

 I hope we’re ready.

Back Cover Blurb for A Musket in My Hands

Can I count on you in times of great need?”

 Callie Jennings reels from her pa’s decision that she must marry his friend, a man older than him. Her heart belongs to her soldier hero, Zach Pearson, but Pa won’t change his mind. Callie has no place to hide. Then her sister, Louisa, proposes a shocking alternative.

Zach still hears his pa’s scornful word—quitter. He’s determined to make something of himself as a soldier. He’ll serve the Confederacy until they win the war. If they win the war.

Callie and Louisa disguise themselves as soldiers and muster into the Confederate army in the fall of 1864. Times are tough and getting tougher for their Confederacy. For Callie, shooting anyone, especially former countrymen, is out of the question—until truth and love and honor come together on the battlefield.

Available at Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas

2020 Angel Book Award Winners Announced

The Faith & Fellowship Book Festival announced the 2020 Angel Book Award winners at the conclusion of their online book festival on November 6th.

The Angel Book Awards recognize outstanding books written by Christian authors and published in the previous year. This year there were six categories: Nonfiction, Children’s, Youth Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery/Suspense, and Contemporary Fiction.










The winners are:


Third place – Know Thyself: The Imperfectionist’s Guide to Sorting Your Stuff

by Lisa Lawmaster Hess

Second place –This Much I Know … The Space Between by Sue Bowles

First place –I Am Cyrus: Harry S. Truman and the Rebirth of Israel by Dr. Craig Von Buseck



Third place –Good Night, Fireflies by Janet L. Christensen

Second place –God’s Protection Covers Me by Amy Houts

First place winner with a PERFECT SCORE –How Much Does God Love You? by Michelle Medlock Adams


Youth Fiction:

Third place –The Heart Changer by Jarm Del Boccio

Second place –Selah’s Stolen Dream by Susan Count

First place –The Crown and the Axe by Darcy Fornier


Historical Fiction:

Third place –Aiming for Love by Mary Connealy

Second place –The List by Buck Storm & Bill Perkins

First place  –Devotion by Olivia Rae



Angel Book Honorable Mentions:

Deadly Guardian by Deborah Sprinkle

Murder in the Family by Ramona Richards


Third place –ROAR by Linda K. Rodante

Second place –The Gryphon Heist by James R. Hannibal

First place—The Silver Lode by Suzanne J. Bratcher



Third place –The Death of Mungo Blackwell by Lauren H. Brandenburg

Second place—Chasing Dreams by Deborah Raney

First place— Meant for Her by Joy Avery Melville


For more information about the Angel Book Awards and the Faith & Fellowship Book Festival, visit


Yolonda Tonette Sanders and Cindy Thomson

cofounders of the Faith & Fellowship Book Festival

Sandra Merville Hart, committee member


The Civil War on Hatteras Island, North Carolina by Drew Pullen

What a wonderful resource of information about the Civil War on Hatteras Island!

Many folks who visit the island on vacation have little idea about its rich history—and even less about what occurred at this strategic location during the Civil War.

I love the photos and sketches from the 1860s included by the author.

Portions of journals and letters from soldiers on both sides enrich this book’s value as a resource for historians, Civil War enthusiasts, and also for novelists like me who write during that time period.

Well-written. Recommend!

-Sandra Merville Hart




by Sandra Merville Hart

Marshmallow root has been used for at least 2,000 years to soothe respiratory and digestive issues. It’s been used in desserts, beverages, and cosmetics. Most mallows are edible and were a delicacy for Romans. Folks in other European countries boiled it and then fried it in butter and onions.

Marshmallow root (Althaea officinalis) is a flowering plant that grows along rivers and marshes. The root is a brown, fibrous husk. It produces mucilage, a substance similar to sap, that has been used as an herbal medicine to treat coughs, dry mouth, and to soothe skin irritations. It may reduce digestive issues like ulcers.

Dried marshmallow root can be used to make a cup of tea.

The marshmallows that we are used to eating today usually don’t contain marshmallow root and had its beginnings in France about 170 years ago. In 1900, corn syrup, egg whites, and water were heated along with marshmallow root and poured into molds.

I followed the Food Network’s recipe to make marshmallows, a new dish for me. I halved the recipe—a mistake because I used a 13 x 9 pan to rest them in and this made a thin layer of marshmallow. (If you halve the recipe, I suggest using a 8 x 8 pan.)

This mistake turned out to be a good thing.

I needed to take a dessert to a family gathering so instead of slicing them into 1-inch squares, I sliced them into cracker-sized shapes for s’mores. It was perfect!

Family members loved this novelty dessert! If you want that “roasted over the fire” gooey taste, then layer a slice on top of a cracker, half of a Hershey’s chocolate bar and microwave for about 5 seconds. I preferred it unmelted (less messy) but everyone else preferred it melted.

Homemade marshmallows have to set for at least 4 hours or overnight so plan accordingly if you want to use them for your next campfire.


“Althaea (plant),” Wikipedia, 2020/10/12

“Homemade Marshmallows,” Food Network, 2020/10/12

“Marshmallow Root,” Mountain Rose Herbs, 2020/10/12

“What are the Benefits of Marshmallow Root?” MedicalNewsToday, 2020/10/12

Underground Railroad Location Inspires an Author

Fellow author and friend, Bettie Boswell, shares historical inspiration for her debut novel. Welcome to Historical Nibbles, Bettie!

by Bettie Boswell

Setting is important to any story, and though my debut novel is a contemporary Christian romance, a historical backdrop plays a major role. My heroine in On Cue has written a musical involving her town’s involvement in the Underground Railroad, in order to save the local historical museum from financial ruin. One of the featured homes in the story was inspired by a real station on that road to freedom for many people escaping slavery, the Lathrop Home in Sylvania, Ohio.

For many years family lore claimed the home as part of a lesser used route to freedom in Canada but there was no actual proof until a renovation took place in the late 1930’s. The new construction uncovered a hidden room next to a brick oven in the basement of the Lathrop’s home. Lucian and Larissa Lathrop, the original home owners, held strong religious beliefs that led them to support the Underground Railroad despite laws that forbade their involvement. They along with their neighbors, David and Clarissa Harroun, helped the runaways by hiding them in that secret room or in the Harroun barn (now part of the Flower Hospital complex) and then made arrangements for the travelers to head north to Detroit where they could cross the river into Canada. David Harroun had a wagon with a false bottom so he could transport former slaves up and down the trail to freedom. There was a known slave catcher in the nearby Maumee area so the Sylvania families did face danger in their endeavors. Making the choice to save the life of a former slave proved their dedication to aide a fellow human.

In On Cue I renamed the home, Woodson House, but the spirit of the Lathrop house lives on as my inspiration.


Back Cover Blurb

When a college sweetheart used Ginny Cline’s dreams for his own glory, he stole her joy of composing music and her trust in men. Years later, encouraged by prayer and a chance to help the local museum, she dares to share her talents again. Unfortunately a financial backer forces her to place her music and trust into the hands of another man.

Theater professor Scott Hallmark’s summer camp benefactor coerces him into becoming the director of Ginny’s musical. The last thing he needs is another woman who uses him to get what they want, especially an amateur who has no idea what they are doing.

As Ginny’s interest in Scott grows, her confusion arises over Honey, a member of Scott’s praise band. Mix in a couple of dogs and quirky cast members for fun and frustration as the couple work together to discover that forgiveness and trust produce perfect harmony.


About Bettie

Bettie Boswell is an author, illustrator, composer, teacher of music and second graders, who lives with her minister husband and tuxedo kitty. She adores her two sons and her grandchildren. On Cue is her debut full length novel. She has published shorter works in anthologies, magazines, and the education market.

Daughters of Deliverance by Lorry Lutz

Kate Bushnell Series Book 1

This book begins with Kate Bushnell as a teenager. Her father runs a lighthouse that saves countless lives. She wants to follow his example by saving lives as a doctor.

Before Kate completes her medical studies, she has an important conversation with a missionary to China. She is invited to serve their mission as a doctor.

Daughters of Deliverance spans several years. Kate, a devout Christian, feels that God calls her to one task for a time and then changes course.

Her path takes her to the red light district in Chicago where she meets women and young girls living a life from which they long to escape.

This book reads like a biography. A lot of historical figures grace the page of this book so I wasn’t surprised to read the author’s note and read the confirmation that this is biographical fiction.

Inspired by a true story, parts of the story are very tragic and tough to read. It was inspiring to learn about the women and men who worked tirelessly to bring change.

-Sandra Merville Hart

Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas