Did You Know? ~ Siberian Mummies in Zeleniy Yar

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Red-haired mummy - from The Siberian Times
I love a good mystery, and when it involves the past, it’s even better. Here’s one I just read about.

In Siberia, about 18 miles from the Arctic Circle, archaeologists have excavated 34 shallow graves at a place called Zeleniy Yar. They think the remote spot could have been an important trading crossroads about a thousand years ago.

The graves include 11 bodies with smashed skeletons and shattered or missing skulls. Among the bodies found were five mummies shrouded in copper plating and covered in animal fur. Only one female body was found—a child with her face masked by copper plates. No bodies of adult women were found.

Belt buckle - from The Siberian Times
A red-haired man was found, also protected by copper plating. In his grave were furs, an iron hatchet, and a bronze head buckle depicting a bear. Another grave contained an iron combat knife, silver medallion, and a bronze bird figurine which possibility dated from seventh century. Yet another spot on the site contained bronze bowls originating in Persia, about 3,700 miles to the south-west. These dated from the tenth or eleventh centuries.

The bodies weren’t preserved on purpose like those of the Egyptian pharaohs.  The mummification in this case was due to a combination of copper, which prevented oxidation, plus the sinking temperature in the 14th century.

The site was discovered earlier, but digging in the area halted in 2002 due to objections by the locals, who feared the scientists were disturbing the souls of their ancestors. Work is underway again, but I was unable to discover whether the locals ceased to object or were just told to live with it.

When I read about this kind of discovery, I have so many questions. Archaeologists say the shattering of the bones and the missing skulls might have some sort of religious significance. I've noticed archaeologists say that a lot--that things are religious in nature--but I wonder in this case if perhaps there was some sort of fight and the people were just crushed. I also wonder where the people came from. Were some of the people in the graves from Persia? Was the site once a thriving crossroads? If so, what happened to it? Did people actually live there or did they just pass through. And why were there no women buried at the site?

And just for fun, here are some events that happened in the rest of the world one thousand years ago, in 1014: February 14th - Pope Benedict VIII crowns Henry II Roman German Emperor. April 23rd - King Brian Boru of Ireland beats Danes at Battle of Clontarf. July 29th - Battle of Strumitsa-valley: Byzantine destroys Bulgarian armies.

Yes, so many questions. So fascinating.

If you want to read the article from which I got information about Zeleniy Yar, or if you want to see more pictures, go to the Siberian Times.

Why I Wrote "Healer of Carthage" Video by Author Lynne Gentry

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Why I wrote Healer of Carthage: Video

Social media links: 

Lynne Gentry has written for numerous publications. Her newest novel, Healer of Carthage, is the first in The Carthage Chronicles series. She is a professional acting coach, theatre director, and playwright with several full-length musicals and children’s theater curriculums to her credit. An inspirational speaker and dramatic performer, Lynne’s first love is spending time with family.

Dr. Lisbeth Hastings experiences a tragic accidental death of a small child under her care and the hospital places her on a forced two week probation. She uses this time to visit her father, Lawrence Hastings, who is an archeologist, at his current dig in Aquaba Pass in the Sahara Desert.  This was the same location where her mother, who was a medical doctor, disappeared 23 years ago in the maze of underground caverns. 
 Investigating a particular cave called the Cave of the Swimmers, Lisbeth touches the glyphic red swimmers on the wall triggering the cave floor to open up under her feet dragging her down. Even though she leaps to grab hold of the edges, she continues to fall through the dark opening. As she tumbles downwards, she hears water thundering below. She awakens from the fall and does not recognize where she is. Being jerked upwards, Lisbeth realizes she is no longer in Aquaba Pass but in a slave block being sold as a slave.  Somehow, Dr. Lisbeth Hastings has time warped to 300 A.D. Carthage. How will she survive in this time period and will she find a way back to the 21st century.
Lynne Gentry provides an entertaining look into the past. She creates the life settings of those who lived in Carthage in 300 A.D.; and skillfully depicts the immoralities, the misuse of power of those in Roman authority, the disregard of human life in the arenas, the hate for Christians and their beliefs, lack of medical knowledge to treat those suffering from the plague, and the inequality of women during that time. 
I enjoyed reading “Healer of Carthage” and I look forward to reading more from The Carthage Chronicles series.

YA Historical Interview & Giveaway ~ Alone Yet Not Alone

Monday, April 14, 2014

Please welcome Tracy Leininger Craven to the BB!  She's the author of the children's historical fiction book Alone Yet Not Alone, which has been made into a movie (coming to theaters this June). She's here to tell us more about the book and movie - and there's a giveaway at the end, so read on!


Amber: Welcome to “The Borrowed Book,” Tracy! Could you share with us what inspired your love for history and historical fiction?

Tracy: Growing up, story time was a regular bedtime ritual. It turned into a great motivator for my siblings and myself to get our nightly chores done quickly so that we could read as long as possible. My dad read a variety of books covering everything from the Bible to poetry to biographies to fiction. Historical fiction was one of my favorites genres.

Writing children’s historical fiction combines my love of writing and discovering true stories from the past. My goal is to make history come alive for my readers. I have come to realize the importance of taking the time to learn from those who came before us. As a Christian, I see history as God’s story through time. Seeing His faithfulness in people’s lives and discovering their stories gives a fresh look at the past. It becomes personal and alive. History is so much more than dates and events. I love to find true stories of God’s love and hope in the midst of suffering or trials and share them with others. My hope is to cultivate a similar love for history and learning in my readers.

Amber: Love it. :) Which era of history is your favorite?

Tracy: Good question. There are so many eras that fascinate me. But I will narrow it down to American history during the Colonial period with the Pioneers and settlers at the top of my list. The Great Depression is a close second. I’ve come across so many amazing stories of men, women and children who worked hard to make ends meet and shared what little they had with their neighbors. It was a difficult time in our history, but the stories of survival are truly incredible.

Amber: Oh, I agree about the Depression! Movies like The Journey of Natty Gann and Kit Kittredge have really captured my imagination and inspired me with their stories of desperation and surviving hope.

So what drew you to write for children? What do you like best about writing for younger readers?

Tracy: I’ve wanted to write children’s books for as long as I can remember. It probably stems from my love for children and from my love of reading as a child. I enjoy the beauty, innocence and creativity of young minds; their simple faith, wonder, vibrant love of life and desire to learn and discover. If I, even in a small way, can cultivate that love of learning and inspire children with stories that give hope and share God’s love and grace, I am fulfilled in my purpose as an author.

Amber: That's a great mindset!

How involved were you in the making of the movie version of Alone Yet Not Alone? I noticed that it’s currently rated PG-13. Do you believe the movie is meant for a different audience than the book?

Tracy: I was not very involved with the script or production of the movie. I was able to be on set for part of the filming and I actually have a small cameo in the film. It was really fun to dress up in the colonial American dress and act in a small scene. In a way, it felt like I stepped back in history and into my book. That feeling is a personal highlight.

The story takes place during the French and Indian War and follows the dramatic events of the Leininger sisters’ capture and escape from the Indians. The book tends to focus more on relationships and I describe the intense scenes with a younger audience in mind. The movie spends more time on action and adventure and I think it is intended for a broader audience. But either way, I think it would have been nearly impossible to create a war story on screen without some level of violence.

Amber: How fun about the cameo! And those are some great things to note about the differences between the movie and the book.What’s next for you in publishing?

Tracy: I do have a few ideas I am considering. We’ll have to wait and see if those thoughts develop and take flight.

Amber: I understand. We'll all just have to stay tuned for more details. :) Thanks for joining us today!



Zondervan has put together a special movie edition of the book Alone Yet Not Alone, and the PR people at Media Connect wanted to offer a copy to one of our readers! Just leave a comment with your e-mail address (so we can get in touch with you if you win), and let us know what you think of YA (young adult) historical fiction, or if you're planning on seeing the movie this summer. You can learn more about the movie at www.aloneyetnotalone.com.

(Note: This giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada only. The winner will be announced next Monday, April 21st.)


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Good morning, BB fans! Thanks to everyone who participated in our "puzzling" Friday giveaway! Keep all those facebook and Twitter notifications, coming!

This week's winner is: 

Elaine K (elaineking1 at hotmail dot com) - Vow Unbroken by Caryl McAdoo.

Congratulations, Elaine! Thank you all so much for stopping by The Borrowed Book.

Sunday Devotional: Our Dying God

“If you’re really our Messiah,” they said, “if you’re really the Son of God, then save yourself!”

All those who were looking to Jesus to act like a god were disappointed.

Here were two cultures, both saturated with tales of power and renown from their God and gods and an array of heroes. The Red Sea—the Kraken. Samson, Elijah—Hercules and Perseus. Everyone knew that if Jesus were really God, there would be some display of power, and maybe He was saving it for the very end. Right?

Well, he wasn’t yet at the end. But they thought so.

While the scribes and Pharisees railed, it was a criminal and a Roman centurion who paid enough attention to the signs to realize what was happening.

For all the exploits of heroes, and the strong arm of God flexed for the eyes of men, the world had yet to see the strength of God as He gave Himself to die.

This Man, unrecognizable to anyone who didn’t know it was Him, suffering not just with resignation, as the old paintings show Him, but with determination. With passion.

It’s the only way, I’ve decided, He could have endured it. Without begging for mercy. Without screaming and wailing. Without the ranting fury of the criminals beside him.

This Man, suffering in relative silence. With patience. With an unearthly focus.

It was enough to convince one of the criminals, who dared ask Jesus for favor while they were there on the cross.

It was also enough, in combination with a total eclipse of the sun and a serious earthquake, to convince a hardened Roman centurion that Jesus must truly be the Son of God.

I wonder whether it also had convinced Pilate, who though he gave Jesus up for scourging and crucifixion, was piqued enough at the Jews who insisted on it all to have “King of the Jews” written and posted over Jesus’ head. Not “He claimed to be King of the Jews,” as the Pharisees insisted, but the simple declaration.

You know he had to wonder just who he was dealing with.

Here was the one the prophets spoke of. The Suffering Servant of Isaiah. Greater than Hercules, mightier than Apollo and Zeus, displaying His strength by His restraint. In not lashing out, not fighting back.

That truly had to be the most awe-inspiring sight in the universe.

44 Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. 45 Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. 46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’” Having said this, He breathed His last.
47 So when the centurion saw what had happened, he glorified God, saying, “Certainly this was a righteous Man!”
48 And the whole crowd who came together to that sight, seeing what had been done, beat their breasts and returned. (Luke 23)

37 And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last.
38 Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 So when the centurion, who stood opposite Him, saw that He cried out like this and breathed His last,[g] he said, “Truly this Man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15, both NKJV)

Weekly Drawing ~ McAdoo

Friday, April 11, 2014

It's Fun Friday at The Borrowed Book!

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 Caryl McAdoo and her newest release, Vow Unbroken.

Click to Mix and Solve

All in a Day's Work, by Caryl McAdoo

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Most of my writing starts during prayer. While I love on God, that wonderful part of my brain where my characters live, I see and hear them move through the next scenes and hear the exchange between them. It comes in flashes sometimes, full blown scenes in others, as though I’ve already experienced them. Then later, after a half a pot of coffee or so, I move to the computer armoire and get serious about pounding out what I’d seen and heard earlier. That’s when the work begins.

Fashioning the telling words into show words. Thinking of active verbs to replace all the passive ones. The first time, it’s all about getting the story down, but no one gets excited when there’s a was, were, have, or had in every sentence, not when they can live vicariously through my characters. And of course, I always need new words. First time through there may be four ‘little’s on a page, but after this time through, one is changed to ‘small’, one to ‘tiny’, and one to ‘runt’! Who wants to read the same word four times on a page or three times in a paragraph?

Another thing I check is my proper name ratio to the pronouns used to replace them as often as possible. But I also want to be sure the pronoun refers to the last proper name mentioned. On rare occasion, as when position clearly identifies who the pronoun is referring to, I will leave a pronoun without repeating the proper name. Too many proper names annoy me.

Write and rewrite.

Maybe a character has something to tell me they forgot to say earlier.

I check the start of each paragraph on a page and make certain they are not a proper name, pronoun, or dialogue. If they are, I haven’t done my job well. This can often lead to figure out what senses I might add in this scene to start some of those starting sentences. And rearranging a sentence can also work.

Speaking of the five senses though – sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell – I encourage you not to feel the need to TELL your reader that your POVC (Point of View Character) saw, heard, tasted, smelled, or felt, because that is a shift in POV, and we all know that shifting POV kills tension. As well as confusing your readers. Instead, if you are firmly in a POV, just report what the POVC sees (and all the other senses, plus thinks, wonders, knows, or realizes), and we—your intelligent readers will know who’s doing the seeing! Plus now you’re SHOWING!

And this brings another picky to mind – using the word ‘felt’ when there’s actually nothing being touched with skin in order to ‘feel’. For instance, she felt nauseous. Ask yourself, can I put my finger on nausea and ‘feel’ it? Of course not, and it’s pure TELL. But consider this: Her stomach churned, acids rising in her throat. The bile stung first then erupted into her mouth and tasted terrible. Doesn’t that rendition SHOW that she ‘felt’ nausea.   

At some point, usually at the urging of my two wee house dogs, I get up, stretch, tend to Belle
and Sassy, and grab something to break my fast. Sometimes only a piece of toast, and sometimes, eggs, biscuits, meat, and cream gravy. I’m also an oatmeal mama! And back to the computer armoire. It has fold out doors to block out the mess (piles of papers and whatever may have landed there), but they are almost always folded back.

If I don’t have anything planned for that day, like prayer meeting, book club, grocery gathering, planting in the garden, or taking someone somewhere, I’ll pretty well hang close to the computer most the day, switching out laundry and doing a little house work when I need to move around a bit.

Oh, and I forgot email and Facebook. I often check those throughout the day. But I try not to stay longer than necessary. I click Like a lot and comment when something strikes me. I love checking my FB notifications and supporting my author friends with comments and shares. Always going back to my work in progress to go over AGAIN what I’ve written and add a page or two or four.

Though Caryl McAdoo has 9 titles from 4 publishers, she realized her dream this month when Simon & Schuster’s Howard Books debuted VOW UNBROKEN, her historical Christian romance set in 1832 Texas. The novelist enjoys painting and singing new songs the Lord gives her. She lives in the woods of Clarksville in Red River County with husband Ron and four grandsons.


Don't forget to come back tomorrow, when you can enter to win a free copy of Vow Unbroken!