Novel Asks, How far would you go if you Thought you Heard the Voice of God?

WordCrafts Press and author Gerry Harlan Brown are celebrating the release of his third novel, the poignant, at times heart-wrenching,Canelands, which released to retail on February 16, 2024. Brown’s latest work follows the exploits of a rural Kentucky preacher who believes God has called him on a quest to pray for the children of the world, even if it means he has to walk from here to Kingdom Come to answer that call. Alternately humorous and heartbreaking, this tale serves as a parable of sorts, intertwining the lives of small town church folk with big city hustlers, country music legends, and nefarious politicians, all with a single-minded mission of simply praying for the least of these.

“On the news one evening, I saw a young Guatemalan girl crying uncontrollably,” Brown says of his inspiration for the novel. “The child was in a chain-link fence enclosure at the southern border. She had been deliberately separated from her mother. I was angered and upset seeing such an innocent suffering. The outlines of Canelands soon came to mind as a way to bring attention to her cruel and unnecessary treatment.”

“I have been a huge fan of Gerry Brown’s novels since I first encountered his wildly humorous novel, White Squirrels and Other Monsters,” says WordCrafts Press publisher, Mike Parker. “His firefighter novel, Ring the Bell, proved how adept he was at shifting between the humorous and the poignant. But Canelands took it to a whole ‘nuther level. The storytelling, the descriptions, the elegance of language all combine for a rollercoaster of emotions. Read it. You’ll see what I mean.”

Canelands follows Brown’s second novel, Ring the Bell, and his debut novel, White Squirrels & Other Monsters, which debuted at Number 50 on’s Hot New Releases chart in the Southern Fiction category. All three novels are published in the US by WordCrafts Press ( and distributed globally by Ingram Content Group, the world’s largest distributor of physical content.

From the Novel

“I was angry beyond measure; angrier than I have ever been in my life,” Paul declared. “But instead of asking the Lord to remove the scales from the eyes of those responsible, to show them the error of their ways, I begged Him to damn them all. I screamed at Him to burn them in hell. I cursed. I ranted and raved. I broke things. The greatest thing I broke was Jennie’s heart; a heart that has scarcely had a chance to heal.”

A single hot tear broke from the corner of the preacher’s right eye, challenging his ability to keep his composure.

“I spent Friday night wandering in the wilderness, stumbling through the canelands down from our house, slipping and sliding and sometimes falling along the banks of the creek. When the first rays of dawn cut through, I was on my knees, worn out and burnt out. I tried to pray, the words would not come. Finally, I said, ‘I am Yours, Father. Use me.’

“In that very instant I heard a voice speaking to my heart as when I was called to preach. My friends, the Lord has called me again. I am to go to Brownsville, Texas, to pray for the children. He has given me only one other requirement for this journey. I am to walk all the way there from here in Kentucky.”

About Gerry Harlan Brown

Gerry Harlan Brown has lived most of his life in the Bowling Green, Kentucky area. Stints at a factory, a farm, and painting houses have been mixed in with periods as a railroader, a volunteer community crisis counselor, and a professional fire chief. Along the way he acquired an Associate of Arts degree and completed multiple courses in leadership at the University of Virginia and the National Fire Academy. He credits his 29 years in the fire service for providing the greatest influence on his writing style. For it was by encountering real people from all walks of life, at their best and bravest to their most devastated and petty, which gave him the opportunity to wrestle monsters, included—as ludicrous as it may seem—squirrels, white and otherwise.

Many of the life lessons Gerry learned along the way have been published in firefighting journals. Canelands is his third novel.