Who do you become when the world falls away?


Jacqueline B. Brown

Sedgwick County Jail

Those who know me, have read my bio, or have read my books probably know that I have worked with girls and young women who have been incarcerated. All of the women and girls I met through this work taught me something about myself and the world, and though there were some who clearly should have been in jail, most would have been better served somewhere else (really anywhere else). It’s important to understand that the road to incarceration for a woman or girl is filled with grief, loss, and trauma. It is echoed in each of them, and while that doesn’t excuse their behavior, it does explain it.

Rather or not you agree with me on this point doesn’t really matter. What does matter is how are we, individually and society wide, helping those who are locked up find the healing they need to lead happy, healthy, productive lives upon their release. Because the vast majority of those incarcerated will someday be released. And so, then the question becomes how are jails, prisons, detention centers, and juvenile justice “programs” helping those they lock up to heal? If these men and women do not find healing (emotional and spiritual) it will be virtually impossible for them to add beauty to our world, and after all, isn’t that the goal? For each of us in our own individual ways to add beauty – and not pain.

Writing is one of the ways that I attempt to add beauty to the world, and it is because of this that I received one of the most meaningful emails of my life:

Hi Jacqueline, my name is Kathy and I just wanted to let you know that your books are making an impact on the young women at the Sedgwick county detention in Wichita Ks.  I stumbled upon your books when looking for good catholic inspired books on amazon after Bud Macfarlane’s books were received so well. I started out sending your first two books and when this young inmate was finished she passed them on. Pretty soon they were asking when your third book would be out and would I watch for it and get it to them. I did!  So far now I’ve sent three sets of the series and they still have not made it into any other pod because there is a waiting line to read them. Keep up your good work. You are reaching people that may not otherwise be reached. Thank you.

When I read this email, I thought back through my books and the light (pun intended) they shed on Domestic Violence, Human Trafficking, healthy and unhealthy relationships, trauma, violence, and from the spiritual side -the knowledge that God does not abandon us ever. And I was overcome with gratitude to Kathy for giving just one of my books to one young woman who needed to hear those messages. I seriously cannot begin to express my gratitude to her, because while I can write the books, I can’t get them everywhere they need to be. This is a team effort, and I am so grateful to have Kathy, and each of you, on the team!

After receiving Kathy’s email, my husband and I have decided that my books will be free to anyone who is spending time in any sort of juvenile or criminal justice facility. All you have to do is ask, and I will send you or your loved ones my books. Thank you Kathy for your beautiful example! I have since sent another 5 sets of books (15 books) to the women of the Sedgewick County Jail. They received them earlier this week.

Gratefully yours,


(The image above is a sculpture by Tim Schmalz, check him out he’s amazing!)

DON’T do what makes you happy.

I have a reusable grocery bag with the words “Do what makes you happy” printed on it. I have never used it. Why? It would be a lie! When I am at the grocery store I am not doing what makes me happy. So instead of using the bag, I look at it with disdain as I take the other bags from my trunk and then grumble to myself all through the store about what a lie that whole statement is.

Am I a fan of lasting joy? Yes! But let’s be clear, if I simply did what made me happy in any given moment, I would not actually be happy. Lots of things that bring me happiness in the short-term will not bring me joy in the long-term. And lots of stuff that does not bring me happiness in the short-term will bring me joy in the long-term. Grocery shopping, cooking dinner, pulling myself out of warm flannel sheets – none of that makes me happy. Laundry, dishes, picking up socks that multiply all over my house yet are consistently missing their match – no happiness there. Writing? YES. Endless hours of editing – not so much. Working with clients? Sometimes, when it’s easy and fun. Not so much when it’s hard. And that’s really the key. The phrase do what makes you happy, is synonymous to me with doing what’s fun and the truth is there are a lot of parts of life that are just not fun, but they do bring joy.

I am fortunate in that I have a long history of engaging in things that are challenging and out of my comfort zone. Writing is one of those things. I never intended to be a writer, and although I love it, there are parts that are really tough. But for me that means I am on the right path. For me, everything in my life that is worth having has been a struggle to get. Really, I cannot think of a single thing that just fell into my lap that is actually something I would fight to keep – a few friendships perhaps but that’s probably because I spent years learning how to be a friend first.

So, what’s the point of my ramblings. The point is I will be donating my unused reusable bag to charity. I will continue going to the grocery store and generally forgoing short-term happiness for long-term joy. And I will continue to be happy.

The psychologist in me now wants to say that if you find yourself feeling unhappy most of the day and most days of the week, then you might want to consider talking with someone you trust. Now, the writer in me wants to remind you that Book 3 of The Light Series, From the Shadows, is now available. If you’ve read it, review it. If you haven’t read it, read it and then review it. Have an amazing Friday!

~ Jacqueline

From The Shadows is Here!!!

Book 3 of The Light Series is here! I totally hope you love it and then review it, so others will have the chance to love it too 🙂 You are all amazing and you are an incredible support to me – even those of you I have never met. Thank you! Truly, thank you for your support, encouragement, reviews, and prayers. I appreciate every positive thought you offer toward me and my writing. It help so very much!!

All the best,


99 Cents

The Light is 99 cents for the next five days. If you haven’t read it, here is your chance to get it super cheap. If you have read it, here is your chance to tell all your friends to read it 😉 Here’s the link.


Have an awesome day!!



This past weekend, I had the privilege of attending my cousin’s wedding. Family from all over the country gathered in Missouri, where the cooler temperatures and lack of hurricane debris made for a lovely weekend escape. Seeing my extended family was, of course, the highlight, and it got me thinking about the value of family in general. We certainly have similarities, but we are all vastly different people. Some are outgoing center of attention kind of people, while some are introverts who are happy to let the others be that center of attention. Our differences range from our jobs to our level of formal education, religion, political views, parenting styles, sports teams we root for, foods we like, activities we enjoy or greatly dislike, you name it we are different.

My cousin’s wedding is a perfect example of our vast differences. My wedding was in a church, presided over by a priest. One of my cousins played a classical piano piece, others handed out programs, and others read from the bible. My cousin’s wedding was outside, kids were eating cookies and chips as the ceremony began. There was definitely no program, and it was officiated by a psychologist/musician/minister who started the ceremony with an electric guitar solo and later sang “let’s get it on” as part of the vows. Our weddings were very different just as we are very different, but both were beautiful and perfect for each of us.

I think that is just like families. We are all so beautifully unique, and that is a significant part of the value family brings. You get to choose your friends. You don’t get to choose your family, and there is innate value in that lack of choice. Because it helps us understand that a person can be loved and respected even if you disagree with them, and that we all hold equal value regardless of our beliefs, our societal contributions, or even our behaviors.

I think our nation needs a dose of this. I think we all need to remember that there is value in differences. We need to respect other people and their very different points of view. I have been a psychologist long enough to know that deep down we are all way more similar than we are different. So perhaps we need to look harder and love more. I don’t have a particularly Pollyanna view of the world – my fiction makes that clear, but I have to believe that love remains the answer to making the world a better, more peace filled place.

My newest release, Before the Silence, speaks to the political discord taking place before my fictional nation imploded and one man who was so desperately working for peace. Download your free copy here.

With Respect,


p.s. this picture is of my sister, my niece, and myself at my cousin’s wedding.


Before The Silence


BeforeTheSilence2240-AmazonKoboAppleSmashwords copy

I am super excited to share this short story with you! As I mentioned in my last blog post, it is about the character known as “the corner girl.” I don’t want to explain anymore here – I just want you to read the story! It is totally free, just click here and start reading!

Are your characters based on your clients?


If you’ve read my bio you know that Psychology is my first professional love and Writing my second. So when I speak to groups, I often get the question “Are your characters based on your clients?” What’s funny (to me at least, maybe not to you) is that the answer is a resounding No. They also aren’t based on people I know (another really common question). They truly are unique creations. Now, I do draw from aspects of people I know to help shape the characters. For example, John Paul’s active personality is loosely based on my oldest son’s high activity level. When I was writing The Light, my younger son was the opposite of his brother, and I thought of him when I was shaping Quinn’s character. He has since grown out of his quiet stage, but that memory of him not acting like a Tasmanian devil will live on in Quinn!

There is one exception to all of this.

In Through The Ashes, I introduce you to a character that doesn’t speak. She is known only as The Girl and she is loosely based on a young girl I once worked with. This girl was not my client, but she taught me a great deal about selective mutism. If I were to do a psychological assessment on my character, she would meet criteria for Selective Mutism and a few other diagnoses. I tend to think about things like that when I write. I believe it helps me create those rich backstories that so many of you have commented on in your Amazon reviews – thanks for those by the way! I only worked with this girl for a few months, and I wasn’t her treating psychologist. There was a great deal I didn’t know about her, and almost all of what I did know I’ve since forgotten. But I remember her eyes. They would become wide and scared if ever I asked her even the most benign of questions and she never answered me. Perhaps this is the reason I still remember her and why she crept into my books. Now that The Girl is in the series, I want to tell you more about her. The problem is she isn’t ready to tell us. To get around this I wrote a short story about her life before she became silent. I will be publishing it in a few weeks, and it will be available as a free download. I will let you all know when it’s available. In the meantime, if you haven’t read Through The Ashes now would be a great time to do so and meet The Girl. I hope you are as intrigued by her as I am. Tap here to start reading.

I also wanted to announce that The Light is currently participating in a promo. You can enter to a win a kindle, a copy of The Light, and about 30 other books. You can click here to enter. 

Have a great rest of August!


Beautiful and Real


I was talking to a friend the other day. Like me, she is a psychologist and novelist. We were talking about the very broad genre of romance novels. This genre encompasses everything from my novels to 50 Shades of something or other and everything in between. What is interesting to both of us is the sheer number of romance novels, and even more interesting is the number of these novels with shirtless men on the cover. Time and time again I noticed the novels with the most risqué covers were published using pen names and often by authors who mention their cats, not their significant other in their bio. Cats are great, don’t get me wrong, but husbands are better. I am sure there are some who would disagree, but for the sake of this argument let’s assume I am right. The problem with having a husband though means having a real, living, breathing person with all their wonderful quirks and imperfections in your house and in your life.

We are all far from perfect. We all know this, and yet we frequently believe that we are perfect and everyone around us should be just like us. This creates intolerance and selfishness, because we believe others are there to benefit us and at times out right serve us. This is reinforced by cultures of pornography and erotica, and it makes sharing life with another human being really difficult. A fantasy can never match the real thing, and yet many people have reversed that. They have lived in a world of fantasy for so long that they have given up on having the real, true experiences. To be clear, I love romance novels. I write romance novels (with some twists), but at the end of the day, it is the relationships in my real life that matter most, not those I make up in my head. I need to be a mother, wife, and friend first and an author and reader second. And I need to be mindful of what I read and write to ensure it is not harming my real relationships and my real self. What I allow into my life will, inevitably, shape it. My hope is that my life is shaped into something beautiful and real, not a mirage of something beautiful and real. That is my hope for all those I care about. That is my hope for each of you.

To stay up to date on my book releases Tap Here.

p.s. I took the picture in a park in China. I believe it meant don’t pick the flowers, but I like their phrasing much better.


Sacrificial Love, Mother’s Day

I remember dating in high school and college and I can’t recall there being any sacrifice, irritation yes, but sacrifice no. It was for the most part all about short-term fun. Then (many years later) I became a mom and my life was suddenly filled with sacrifice, but something curious happened. With that sacrifice came an almost exponential growth in my ability to love. I now understand that sacrifice and love go hand in hand and that has made me a better mom, wife, friend, and general human being.

I also think it’s one of the reasons The Light series came to me when it did. In the trailer for Through the Ashes, you’ll see the crown of thorns, the ultimate example of sacrificial love, juxtaposed with the antagonist of that book. This character embodies the belief that love and life should not be about sacrifice. He believes others should be useful to him and if they aren’t, then there is no reason for them to exist. You may think he is extreme in his beliefs, and perhaps he is, but many others (in the world he lives in and in the world we live in) believe the same.

As a mom, there are times when I’m so focused on the sacrifice (laundry, cooking, picking up socks, dishes, homework, driving kids around to something they want to do while they are screaming and fighting and making me wish for a sound barrier between the front and back seats) that I forget how blessed I am to have two beautiful boys to sacrifice for.  Now, on Mother’s Day I am hoping to eat at least one meal without getting up 5 times to refill a child’s plate or cup or telling two children 15,000 times each (not an exaggeration) to sit down and finish their food. But if that doesn’t happen, it’s okay, because love, real love, is worth the sacrifice. Plus, my kids are really cute. I’m not sure how the whole sacrificing thing is going to go when they are more smelly and less adorable. Totally kidding – well mostly kidding.

Here is the trailer for Through the Ashes, and Happy Mother’s Day!!

~ Jacqueline



Powered by

Up ↑