Watch what you research!
by Mary L. Hamilton
My husband, Wayne, doesn’t quite know what to make of my turn to the dark side as I write mystery/suspense stories. But when I was trying to figure out a good place to hide a body in our area, he arranged a meeting with a man he knows who has worked as a police officer in our area off and on for thirty years. For thirty minutes, this friend and I discussed ways and locations for disposing of dead bodies, while Wayne listened and wondered what had happened to his sweet, innocent wife. Finally, after I’d learned fifteen different ways to dispose of a body, my interviewee looked at Wayne and said, “If something happens to you, we’ll know who to look for.”
Not long after that, Wayne received a text message from his friend early one morning asking him to call ASAP. Upon answering, his friend sounded relieved.
“Oh good. You’re still alive,” he said. He’d found an obituary in the newspaper for a man approximately the same age and the same name as my husband. But what made it even stranger was the deceased’s parents’ names–Wayne and Mary Hamilton!
 Watch what you research! 😉
Mary L. Hamilton, Author
Rustic Knoll Bible Camp Series

I love the ever-changing colors and textures of a sunset. There’s something so peaceful about it, almost as if the day exhales its worry and stress in preparation for the night.

Maybe that’s why the best sunsets include clouds, those masses of water vapor we usually associate with storms. In fact, some of the most beautiful sunsets happen in the aftermath of a storm when the abundance of cloud surfaces all reflect the varying hues of light as the sun slips below the horizon.

Several decades have passed since I took my first airplane ride, but I still remember that day when dark clouds hung low and rain made everything especially dreary.

The difference when we burst through the cloud deck astounded me. Sunlight shining on brilliant white cotton-ball tops of the clouds took my breath away.

We landed again in that dismal rainy weather, but I felt like grabbing everyone I saw and encouraging them to believe there was incredible beauty right above us on the other side of those clouds.

Jesus said, “I have told you these things so that in me, you may have peace. In the world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

If life’s clouds have got you down, trust there’s amazing beauty on the other side, and prepare for an awesome Son-set once the storm passes.

Mary L. Hamilton is the author of the Rustic Knoll Bible Camp series for middle grades and Pendant, a cozy suspense novel, under the name M. L. Hamilton. When not writing, she enjoys photographing sunsets like the one above. She and her husband live in Texas.


Plot Twists and Adventures

Plot Twists and Adventures by Mary L. Hamilton

When the unexpected happens in a story, we call it a plot twist. In life, it’s

Plot Twists and Adventures

Plot Twists and Adventures

sometimes called an adventure.

My husband’s retirement meant a chance to move from the big city to a smaller town, with a lake to satisfy me, and a university to satisfy him. But initially, our move wasn’t the sort of adventure I’d envisioned.

Thinking it wise to rent until we decided what part of town we wanted to buy into, we arrived at our temporary quarters on a cold January day. Mind you, this was Texas, not North Dakota, but it was still cold to us! And there was no heat in the house, thanks to a mix-up with the utility company. Thankfully, we found a hotel for the night that accepted us, and our 80-lb. dog.

The next day, the movers unloaded all our furniture and boxes, the heat came on, and that night we climbed into bed—only to hear the storm siren go off. Did they really use the storm sirens for a hard freeze? It turned out to be a malfunction.

Apparently, the house hadn’t been occupied for a year or more. Built in the 1960’s, it also hadn’t seen any updates, recent or otherwise. The single pane windows leaked cold air in drafty waves, and rattled whenever the jet propulsion company, located over ten miles away, tested their rocket engines. The dining room floor sloped toward the back yard, thanks to a cracked foundation. One of the toilets leaked. And there were no three-prong outlets in the house, forcing us to go out and buy adapters for all our electronics. We also couldn’t figure out why we had hot showers, but no hot water in the kitchen—until we discovered a second water heater, which soon needed to be replaced.

With no gas hookup for our clothes dryer, we had to buy an electric model. It was delivered a week after we moved in, and I could finally wash our clothes. But of course, the drain was plugged, resulting in flooded floors in three rooms.

Then the furnace quit…twice. My husband and I still laugh about crawling into bed under four layers of blankets wearing long underwear, wool socks and ski hats. The electric heating pad helped, too.

Since we weren’t planning to stay in the house for long, we unpacked only the things we used on a daily basis. But when my daughter visited and asked me to help her sew up a hem, I couldn’t even find my needle and thread!

More than once in the seven months we lived in that house, I became overwhelmed and frustrated. But most of the time, I laughed it off and reminded myself this was an adventure.

I wish I could say I always keep that kind of attitude when things go wrong. Too often, I develop a short fuse and vent my anger and frustration. But I think I’ve found a way to hold onto that perspective. In John 9, when asked about the cause of a man’s blindness (surely a reason for frustration and despair), Jesus answered, “…this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.”

What if I look at the things that go wrong in life and see them as an opportunity for the work of God to be displayed in my life? Now that sounds like an adventure!

Mary L. Hamilton

Mary L. Hamilton


Bio: Mary L. Hamilton grew up at a youth camp in Wisconsin, much

See No Evil

See No Evil

like the setting for her Rustic Knoll Bible Camp series. Her experiences during twenty years of living at the camp, as well as people she knew there, inspired many of the events and situations in her novels. Mary is currently working on a women’s mystery/suspense. When not writing, she enjoys a little amateur photography, knitting, reading, and spending time with her family. Mary and her husband live in Texas.