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Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Please join me in welcoming Ada Brownell, author of Joe the Dreamer.

A.B. Brownell has been writing for Christian publications since age 15 and spent much of her life as a daily newspaper reporter. She has a BS degree in Mass Communications and worked most of her career at The Pueblo Chieftain in Colo., where she spent the last seven years as a medical writer. After moving to Springfield, MO in her retirement, she continues to free lance for Christian publications and write non-fiction and fiction books. 


“You can’t stop there!” the junior high student erupted during my summers and after-school session of The Dunamis Academy. “I can’t wait to see what happens!”

It was only a chapter break. It was nearly time to go home.

I established the after-school and summers program after writing too many news stories about latch-key kids, juvenile delinquency and young people who turn away from God.

 “Lord, why don’t you give the idea for this ministry to someone else?”

But I observed children with little productive to do in their spare time, such as becoming established in the faith. So I contacted the director of our church day care to see what she thought.

“We need something for the upper elementary students and a few older ones,” she said.

My vision was to build up our church kids spiritually, but I was surprised to discover a large number of Social Services children in that age group enrolled.

The first summer, the director taught a class on how to make friends, and our children’s pastor answered my call to teach puppet ministry one day a week. I led devotions, coached intense Bible memorization, and taught faith-building classes.

I wrote the curriculum:  “Dynamite Decisions for Youth,” “God in American History” and “Love is Dynamite.”

But they needed something relaxing in the afternoons and Joe the Dreamer was born.

I hoped to impart in them a love for God’s Word and a desire to read it on their own. The story begins with a mystery. Joe’s parents disappear. Joe prays God will bring them back, but his faith is weak. So while he and his little sister, Penny, live with their uncle, Joe reads the Bible every night. When he falls asleep, he often slips into the skin of a Bible character.

Lions breathe down his neck. He stands in a furnace of fire, but is not burned. He lands in a cistern and ends up in slavery. Then he walks on water with Jesus. Several times Joe sees angels.

Yet, Joe’s days become a living nightmare. Somebody is after him. The police are hunting for Joe’s dad—not because he’s missing but because he’s accused of stealing valuable software for a brain chip to control seizures. Because Joe screams and shouts in the night, his uncle believes he has a mental illness and Joe is committed to the state mental hospital.

In the subplot, the reader sees Joe’s parents imprisoned at a nearby castle by radicals who want to erase Christianity from America.

Then there is the teen gang Joe joins—the Gallant Guardians—dedicated to solving and preventing crime by using ordinary harmless things like marbles, water, noise, rope and a pet skunk.

I learned my experience as a newspaper reporter could be used. The brain chip came out of interviews I had with neurologists about seizure control. Except the radicals want a chip to cause seizures in influential Christians.

The scenes in the mental hospital grew out of my reporting on the juvenile ward in the mental institute.

That wonderful student who was so excited about Joe’s story didn’t discover how the story ended because I didn’t complete the manuscript then. If you set a book aside, it could be years before it is published, if at all.

Yet, if we believe in something and get to work, we’ll see our dreams become reality.

About the book, Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult

Enter an area where people are missing and radicals want to obliterate Christianity from the earth. After Joe Baker’s parents mysteriously disappear, he finds himself with a vicious man after him. Joe and an unusual gang team up to find his mom and dad. The gang is dedicated to preventing and solving crimes with ordinary harmless things such as noise, water, and a pet skunk instead of blades and bullets. Joe reads the Bible hoping to discover whether God will answer prayer and bring his parents home. In his dreams, Joe slips into the skin of Bible characters and what happened to them, happens to him—the peril and the victories. Yet, crying out in his sleep causes him to end up in a mental hospital’s juvenile unit. Will he escape or will he be harmed? Will he find his parents? Does God answer prayer?

Teens. No fantasy. No wizard. Suspense. Christian payload. Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult or
The book is also available at, and is listed at

You can find Ada on the web at:
Swallowed by LIFE:
Confessions of a Pentecostal:
     Twitter: @adellerella


kbailey said...

Sounds very interesting! And teens sure do need good literature to read!!

Janet K Brown said...

You are right on, Ada. God's plans are so much bigger than our dreams that I stand in awe. BTW, are you Assembly of God? You say you're pentecostal & you live in Springfield. I'm AG myself, so just wondered. Thanks, Darelene, for allowing us to learn more about Ada.

Janet K Brown said...

Thanks, Ada. Our dreams are so much smaller than God's reality for us. BTW are you Assembly of God? I saw you were pentecostal & live in Springfield. I'm AG myself. Thanks, Darlene, for allowing us to get better acquainted with Ada.