Weekly Drawing ~ Beth Wiseman

Friday, October 24, 2014

It's Fun Friday at The Borrowed Book! This week's prize is available to residents inside the continental US only.

To enter:

Leave the time it took you to complete the puzzles in the comments section as well as your email address for notifying you if you've won. Winners will be drawn from ALL of the times, so the person with the fastest time may not be the actual winner, but by leaving your time, you double your chances.

Want another entry? Tweet your puzzle time and mention The Borrowed Book, get another entry. RETWEET our Tweet, get two entries!

Post your puzzle time on BB's Facebook wall and...you guessed it...get another entry!

Post it on your OWN Facebook wall and you could get as many as FIVE entries.

It's all a way to spread the word about the great giveaways on BB. So c'mon! Help us spread the word, and have a little fun at the same time. Enter all weekend long! Winners will be announced Sunday night at midnight.

This week's puzzle feature is brought to you by Beth Wiseman and her newest release, The Promise.

 Click to Mix and Solve

Author Beth Wiseman Talks About 3-D Characters

Thursday, October 23, 2014

We’ve all read books with one or two-dimensional characters, those books that tell a great story but lack the motivations to support the actions, thus making it difficult to stay vested and care about the characters. Three-dimensional characters are layered, but the trick is not stuffing it all down the reader’s throat at one time. Motivations will be easier to digest if they are fed to your audience slowly in a precipitated way that keeps the book moving forward while allowing the reader to have a better understanding about what drives your characters.

For example: Suzie has blonde hair and blue eyes. She has a small scar on her chin. She’s tall and skinny. Suzie works as a paralegal at a law firm. One day she hopes to go to law school and become an attorney. She can’t have children. She sleeps with the light on.

Those little factoids should be sprinkled throughout your introduction to Suzie, but shouldn’t be the main focus of the story in the beginning. Use those supporting tidbits while driving the action.

The second layer should begin to enlighten the reader about what makes Suzie tick. Where did she get the scar on her chin? Why does she want to be an attorney? Why can’t she have children? And why does she sleep with the light on?

So, consider this: Suzie was assaulted when she was a teenager, thus the scar on her chin. She’s wanted to be an attorney since that horrible incident, which left her unable to have children. At this point, the reader assumes Suzie leaves the light on because she is afraid of the dark based on what happened to her. So, instead of driving that point home, let the reader go ahead and assume this for now.

More often than not, that is where a lot of books stop offering layers, which leaves us with a two-dimensional character. But let’s take the reader deeper into Suzie’s psyche in an effort to keep our reader totally vested, caring about Suzie and her outcome. Although, we are still feeding this information slowly.

Third dimension: Suzie doesn’t want to be an attorney in an effort to see justice prevailed. Instead, she is doing it to prove to her father that she can—a man who said she would never amount to anything and who said that she’d enticed the person who raped her. But Suzie helps her father financially just the same. This hints that Suzie came from a bad home life growing up, without force-feeding the information. It also tells the reader that no matter how awful her father might be, Suzie still wants him to be proud of her and she loves him, as shown by her financial support. And Suzie doesn’t sleep with the light on because she is afraid of the dark. She sleeps with the light on because she has a rare neurological condition that requires her to leave the light on.

And throughout the story, you can keep adding layers. Maybe Suzie’s father is so difficult because Suzie’s mother left them both when Suzie was a small child. Does Suzie look just like her mother? Is that why her father resents Suzie or has trouble having a relationship with her? Does Suzie long for a child or never really wanted to be a mother? What is it about Suzie that endears her to the reader? Does she love animals? Maybe so much so that she is constantly bringing home strays?

Then do the same thing for your male character if you’re writing a romance. But ‘Sam’ could be a janitor at the local school who is taking night classes. He has a great family, so he can’t understand why Suzie puts up with her father’s verbal abuse. Has Sam always wanted a houseful of children? Is he allergic to most animals? Take all that conflict, structure an interesting plot, and then let these two people see the essence in each other—the things that no one else sees—and challenge the reader to wonder how these two people will ever end up together.

Even if your story is not a romance, writing multi-layered characters facing insurmountable conflict keeps our readers interested past just the black and white mold of a person without depth.

This process was particularly important for my latest release—The Promise. How many women do you know who would travel to Pakistan, despite warnings from family, friends, and our U.S. State Department? I needed strong motivations for Mallory so that the reader found her actions plausible and wanted to be on the journey with her, rooting for her to achieve her goals. The Promise is inspired by actual events, but sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction, so it was doubly important for the reader to understand what drove Mallory to such lengths.

People are complicated. Our characters should be too. Going the extra mile in a novel will keep your reader turning the pages. We want our readers to live the story, not to just be a spectator. Multi-layered characters are a way to make this happen.

Beth Wiseman is the best-selling author of the Daughters of the Promise series and the Land of
Canaan series.  Wiseman has a deep affection for the Amish and their simpler way of life, and while she plans to continue writing Amish love stories, she is also branching out into other areas. In her daring new novel, Wiseman jumps way outside the box. The Promise will take readers far away from Amish country and the small Texas towns of her previous releases to a dangerous place on the other side of the world. Inspired by actual events, Wiseman believes this is the book she’s been working toward for a long time.

Wiseman can be found at Fans of Beth Wiseman on Facebook where she interacts with readers. Learn more about the author and her books at bethwiseman.com and on Twitter (@bethwiseman).

Don't forget to stop by tomorrow, when you can enter to win a free copy of The Promise here on The Borrowed Book!

Deleted Scenes—The Pitfalls, The Upside by Author Beth WIseman

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Is there anything more painful for an author than to hit the ‘Delete’ button?  We’ve given life to our characters, created scenes that we know are perfect, and bled onto the pages.  How in the world can an editor see what we can’t and insist that some pages—maybe even entire scenes—need to go? The horror.

But if you’re in the game long enough, it will eventually happen.  My latest release, The Promise, was a literary endeavor that was way out of the box for me, and as such, my editor set the bar really high.  I was crossing genres, and she wanted a really tight story that popped on every page.  But I initially had a mental block while writing the book.

The Promise is inspired by a true story, and I knew that once my character got on a plane to head to Pakistan, all of the real-life events would come hurdling back at me, taking me back to a time that was painful and scary.  So, I prolonged putting my character on the plane.  Instead, I sent a secondary character cross-country, filled the pages with a bit of fluff, and basically wrote about a hundred pages that didn’t help to further the story, but caused it do drag.  In the end, it was delete, delete, delete.  

So, is there an upside when this happens?  At the time, it’s hard to see one.  But looking back, there was a silver lining.  Perhaps the reader didn’t need those hundred pages, but I did.  It was an opportunity to get to know my characters.   In that regard, I can’t consider it wasted time and effort.  

Have you ever written a letter and not sent it?  Maybe it was just for you, a way to vent, part of a healing process, or an incentive to forgive.  Sometimes, deleted scenes end up in the same ‘File 13’ as other projects that weren’t really for anyone else’s benefit, except our own.  

In the scene that never made it into The Promise, I felt like I was sitting in the backseat while my character drove to New York City.  I learned a lot about him, his motivations, hopes, and dreams.  I was a silent player in my own book, watching and learning.  In hindsight, these tidbits weren’t anything that the reader needed to know, but the journey enabled me to incorporate the emotions my character was feeling through other ways that drove the story forward.  

At the end of that trip to New York City, Tate and I parted ways, and I returned to my computer to hit the delete button.  But, we had that time together, and I returned from the adventure with a much better understanding about who Tate really is.  

As authors, we must realize that even the deleted scenes serve a purpose.  As readers, we appreciate when an editor or author has gone the extra mile to keep any unnecessary filler out of the book.

As a reader, how many times have you skimmed sections of books that really should have been deleted or shortened?  And author friends, as painful as the deleting process is, has it benefitted you in ways that I mentioned?



Beth Wiseman is the best-selling author of the Daughters of the Promise series and the Land of Canaan series.  Wiseman has a deep affection for the Amish and their simpler way of life, and while she plans to continue writing Amish love stories, she is also branching out into other areas. In her daring new novel, Wiseman jumps way outside the box. The Promise will take readers far away from Amish country and the small Texas towns of her previous releases to a dangerous place on the other side of the world.  Inspired by actual events, Wiseman believes this is the book she’s been working toward for a long time.  


Wiseman can be found at Fans of Beth Wiseman on Facebook where she interacts with readers. Learn more about the author and her books at bethwiseman.com and on Twitter (@bethwiseman).

Sunday Devotional: Psalm 90 ~ Infused with the eternal

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Did you know that Moses wrote a Psalm?

Psalm 90 (NKJV) ~ A Prayer of Moses the man of God.

Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
Or ever You had formed the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.
Moses was, to our knowledge, the first one to ask God His name. And God answered, I Am That I Am. Wording varies depending upon your translation of Scripture, but it boils down to a statement of His eternality.
This concept can be the hardest thing to get our brains around. How can a being have no beginning and no end? For that matter, how can eternity itself stretch endlessly forward, back ... above, below, beyond all that we know and we see, forever and ever without end?

And yet, I believe it foundational to everything else. How could God be God, for starters, if we could wrap our minds around all He is? If He were not completely and utterly mind-blowing?

You turn man to destruction,
And say, “Return, O children of men.”
For a thousand years in Your sight
Are like yesterday when it is past,
And like a watch in the night.
You carry them away like a flood;
They are like a sleep.
In the morning they are like grass which grows up:
In the morning it flourishes and grows up;
In the evening it is cut down and withers.

And time, by comparison, is here and gone. In light of that—we are ephemeral creatures who, as James said, are like vapors that appear then vanish—how can we refuse to believe in the Lord? How can we, pun not entirely intended, blow our chance at becoming fully corporeal, fully real, formed of changeable time but transplanted into the vast and unmovable Eternal? To be eternal, ourselves?

Verse 3 gives us a clue, then, why God allows hard things to happen to us. “You turn man to destruction and say, ‘Return ...’ ” He lets the terrible things come to make us all turn to Him ... to cause even those of us who love Him to lean more deeply into Him ... because only by looking at Him, pressing into Him, will we find what we need to endure the hurricane-force winds of this life.

Only by leaning into Him, the Eternal One Himself, do we in fact become infused with the eternal.

For we have been consumed by Your anger,
And by Your wrath we are terrified.
You have set our iniquities before You,
Our secret sins in the light of Your countenance.
For all our days have passed away in Your wrath;
We finish our years like a sigh.
10 The days of our lives are seventy years;
And if by reason of strength they are eighty years,
Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow;
For it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
11 Who knows the power of Your anger?
For as the fear of You, so is Your wrath.
12 So teach us to number our days,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom.

This from the man who stood face to face with the Eternal, himself. Whose face glowed with the glory of I Am. Whose heart possibly understood better than anyone else of his time the passion and fury that comprises this One, the love and jealousy and righteous wrath He pours into His pursuit of us and care over us. Let us understand the brevity of our lives, he prayed, so that our very hearts might be changed to understand wisdom.

13 Return, O Lord!
How long?
And have compassion on Your servants.
14 Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy,
That we may rejoice and be glad all our days!
15 Make us glad according to the days in which You have afflicted us,
The years in which we have seen evil.
16 Let Your work appear to Your servants,
And Your glory to their children.
17 And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us,
And establish the work of our hands for us;
Yes, establish the work of our hands.

Even in his position of intimacy with God, or maybe because of it, Moses felt the press of his own mortality, the weight of God’s exacting perfection ... but he also knows that the Lord is a God of compassion and mercy, that joy in Him is the thing to be desired. And so he not only begs the Lord for joy enough to balance the affliction they’ve suffered, for the Lord to reveal Himself to us, but he steps up with boldness to ask that the Lord would clothe us with His own glory ... and to somehow make our labor, our work, as eternal as He is.

Would an eternal God really do that for these poor wisps of vapor? For us? Not only lift us from the mist of futility that comprises existence on this planet, but even grace our works and efforts with lasting substance?

I believe He not only can ... He does.

Weekly Drawing ~ Christine Lindsay

Friday, October 17, 2014

It's Fun Friday at The Borrowed Book! This week's prize is available to residents inside the continental US only.

To enter:

Leave the time it took you to complete the puzzles in the comments section as well as your email address for notifying you if you've won. Winners will be drawn from ALL of the times, so the person with the fastest time may not be the actual winner, but by leaving your time, you double your chances.

Want another entry? Tweet your puzzle time and mention The Borrowed Book, get another entry. RETWEET our Tweet, get two entries!

Post your puzzle time on BB's Facebook wall and...you guessed it...get another entry!

Post it on your OWN Facebook wall and you could get as many as FIVE entries.

It's all a way to spread the word about the great giveaways on BB. So c'mon! Help us spread the word, and have a little fun at the same time. Enter all weekend long! Winners will be announced Sunday night at midnight.

This week's puzzle feature is brought to you by Christine Lindsay and her newest release, Veiled at Midnight.

 Click to Mix and Solve

Ah…The Easy Life of a Christian Writer—by Christine Lindsay

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A writer, especially a Christian writer, makes loads of money and can afford to be chauffered around and someone else clean her house and make the meals. A published writer also makes so much money he or she does not need another job to pay the bills.

Laughing out loud.

Here’s another one for you:

A Christian writer only writes happy stories because their lives are so blessed and easy they never suffer.

I’m not laughing quite so loud now.

If it weren’t for the compulsion that the Lord placed on my heart—to write stories that will inspire people to follow Him, I could find a ton of other things to do. Life might even be a little easier. I might not be so tired.

Writing is hard. It’s time consuming, it takes commitment. Especially when you are also a real-life person in your family.

The people I love are complex human beings. Even though my husband and I have tried to be good Christian examples over the years, some of our loved ones have made choices that have brought them great pain. In fact, my own poor choices brought me a great deal of anguish such as getting pregnant out of wedlock as a young woman and reliquishing my first child to adoption. But, those experiences help me get inside my character’s head when she longs for a child that is not her own in Shadowed in Silk.

So all that lovely pain was not without a wonderful purpose.

I guess that’s why I write about characters who suffer from loneliness and depression because I see this in several of my family members and is one of the themes in my book Captured by Moonlight. How about the subject of growing up with an alcoholic father—that features heavily in Shadowed in Silk and even more so in Veiled at Midnight?

Writers write from the heart, but especially Christian writers.

Veiled at Midnight has been a special book for me. I wrote it while watching my young brother recover from alcoholism. At first glance readers might be turned off by a book, where one of the characters is a young man who drinks too much, but let’s keep in mind that a novel has multiple layers.

I for one hate reading a book that depresses me. But I also don’t care for a book that doesn’t have big stakes. I don’t care for books where nothing much happens. And if something in life is worth big stakes, you can be sure the loss of it will hurt big time. The only good thing about the pain in my life as I’ve said before is what it teaches us. How the Lord uses pain to show us a deeper glimpse of Himself.

That’s why I love novels that take the characters through pain, but…and here’s the thing…hope must glimmer on every single page.  Because even though my life is far from easy—and I’d bet the fictitious family farm that your life is tough too—I believe in a great God who turns the dark valleys into mountaintop experiences.

I believe in happy endings. And I will always write a happy ending, that’s my promise to my readers.

So as Veiled at Midnight is released, it’s with a lot of joy, because not only does my character gain victory over his personal dragon, so too did my real life brother, Steve.

Veiled at Midnight is the happy ending to a three book series. It is the passionate and explosive finale to the end of the British Empire.

VEILED AT MIDNIGHT by Christine Lindsay


The Partition of India has sent millions fleeing to the roads, and caught up in its turbulent wake, Captain Cam Fraser, his sister Miriam, and the beautiful Indian Dassah. 

Cam has never been able to put Dassah from his mind, ever since they played together at the mission as children. But a British officer and the aide to the last viceroy can't marry a poor Indian girl, can he?

As this becomes clear to Dassah what choice does she have but to run. Cam may hold her heart, but she cannot let him break it again.   

Miriam rails against the separation of the land of her birth, and as British forces will soon leave India, she struggles--is Lieutenant Colonel Jack Sunderland her soulmate, or a distraction from what God has called her to do?  

ABOUT CHRISTINE LINDSAY:

Stories of Christine Lindsay’s ancestors who served in the British Cavalry in Colonial India inspired her multi-award-winning, historical series Twilight of the British Raj, Book 1 Shadowed in Silk, Book 2 Captured by Moonlight. The third and final book Veiled at Midnight to that series is releasing October 15, 2014.

Christine makes her home on the west coast of Canada with her husband and their grown up family. Her cat Scottie is chief editor on all Christine’s books.

CONNECT WITH CHRISTINE:

Please drop by Christine’s website http://www.christinelindsay.com/ or follow her on Twitter and be her friend on Pinterest , and  Goodreads

Make sure to stop by tomorrow, when you can enter to win a free copy of Veiled at Midnight!

The Big Red Do-Over Button by Author Christine Lindsay

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sadly, God did not issue us with a Do Over Button, but don’t you just wish He had? A nice big one like a giant red Smartie on your desk that you could slam, and it would whip you back several years when you were deciding what to write.
In all the writing related blogs and instructive courses, we are told to study the market, see what publishers are selling, what readers are buying, etc. Good advice—advice I heartily recommend.
However, I started writing the first book in my historical series before I ever heard that advice. I was born in Great Britain, so I grew up on novels written about the flamboyant exploits of British Colonialism. Think dashing British Cavalry officers on glorious steeds and rescuing the courageous woman who went out to far flung colonies to be with the brave men they loved. Or soldiers from WW1 and WW2 in tropical uniform. Ah adventure and romance...doesn’t it just make your toes curl?
I grew up reading the blockbuster novels, Far Pavilions and Shadow of the Moon, written by the famous MM Kaye that big New York agents like Donald Maass and writers like Stephen King still drool over today. 
You can’t beat quality. I wanted to write novels like MM Kaye set in British Colonial India but from a Christian viewpoint. However, I didn’t know that the setting of India would turn some readers off even before they cracked the book open. This even surprised me after my first book Shadowed in Silk won the ACFW Genesis and continued to win awards. This lack of interest in my chosen setting continued to amaze me even after Book 2 Captured by Moonlight won a few awards.
Ah, the setting. It actually hampers sales. Did I choose the wrong setting? Do I wish I had a big red Do Over Button on my desk? 
After my first book Shadowed in Silk won the Genesis, The Grace Award, and was a finalist for Readers’ Favorite, I considered writing for the market. At that point I could have set aside my ideas on the 3-book series and started something with a more lucrative setting. But the artistic passion to finish what I started would not let go. To satisfy myself as a Christian writer, I simply had to finish that series to the best quality that I could. I had to write the kind of book I love to read.
Besides, I felt the encouragement from God to finish what I started. 
Book 3 Veiled at Midnight is releasing this Oct. 15. As this third baby from this series is about to be released I can say with all honesty I’m glad I Don’t have a Do Over Button on my desk. I’m so thrilled that I stuck to my artistic integrity in spite of what the marketing gurus say. I feel good about the quality of these three novels. 
Yes, it’s true my name isn’t as big as some of my contemporaries. YET!!! My sales numbers aren’t as high. YET!!! 
So does this mean I am unsuccessful?
I don’t feel unsuccessful. In fact, I feel a deep satisfaction in my soul. I also believe in the steady build, the slow burn. I believe in longevity. Maybe the slow burn will burn bright in the long run.
So, yes, study the market. If you are passionate about a story that is popular with the market right now—Go for it.
Write the passion on your heart. It will show on the page, and that is what will make the readers heart go pitter-patter too. 
VEILED AT MIDNIGHT-- The British empire draws to an end...
but the turmoil has only just begun.

Christine Lindsay was born in Ireland, and is proud of the fact that she was once patted on the head by Prince Philip when she was a baby. Her great grandfather, and her grandfather—yes father and son—were both riveters on the building of the Titanic. Tongue in cheek, Christine states that as a family they accept no responsibility for the sinking of that infamous ship. Londonderry Dreaming is Christine’s first contemporary romance set in N. Ireland. 

CONNECT WITH CHRISTINE:

Please drop by Christine’s website http://www.christinelindsay.com/ or follow her on Twitter and be her friend on Pinterest , and  Goodreads