Sunday, February 28, 2010

Taming the Tongue
James 3:3-12

Everyone struggles with controlling their tongue. Jesus said it was a fire, yet we don’t spend enough time learning what it means to control our mouth. To illustrate this, I played a little game with the teens in my youth group. The rules were simple. Before the students arrived, I set out enough Life Savers candies and plates for each one. Across the room, I set two small Dixie cups. After students arrived, I divided them into two teams. I then asked the students to stick a Life Saver to their tongue without using their hands, teeth, etc. Then, they had to carry the candy across the room and drop it into the cup. If they lost the candy or missed the cup, they had to go back and get a new Life Saver. They did this until one team won.

The meaning was clear. Controlling our speech is no less difficult than carrying a sodden Life Saver across the room and dropping it into a tiny cup, and yet, our Savior says it must be so. For that reason alone, let us each be inclined to "tame our tongue."

3When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.

Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. 7All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

9With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. 10Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 11Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

It's always so much fun to give away great books!! Congratulations to this week's lucky winners:

Nicole Simon - The Country House Courtship by Linore Rose Burkhard
Kim (kntsmom) - Faith Deployed by Jocelyn Green
K - Battlefields and Blessings by Jocelyn Green
renee - Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania by Cerella Sechrist
Winners of this weeks books, please email me with your mailing address so I can forward your information to the authors. Then, sit back and wait for your book to arrive.

Thank you all so much for stopping by The Borrowed Book and thank you, Linore Rose Burkhard, Jocelyn Green, and Cerella Sechrist for your generosity in providing books!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Entering our weekly drawing is easy:

1. Leave a comment on Fridays or...

2. Sign up to follow The Borrowed Book. Followers will automatically be entered for a chance to win that week's drawing!

This week, The Borrowed Book is giving away FOUR great books:

The Country House Courtship by Linore Burkard ~ The year is 1818 and Miss Beatrice Forsythe is determined to marry well. After all, her sister, Ariana, married The Paragon, Mr. Phillip Mornay, five years earlier--which all but guarantees that she, Beatrice, can also make a famous match to a wealthy man.

But her sister and husband have disappeared from high society as they raise a family at their country estate. Can Beatrice persuade them to chaperone her in London? And what about Beatrice's business with the curate, Mr. O’Brien, whom she rashly promised to marry years earlier. At seventeen now, she has no wish to marry a mere clergyman—despite his agreeable countenance and gentle, understanding ways.

Battlefields and Blessings by Jocelyn Green is a 365-day collection of inspiring stories of courage perseverance and faith-based on firsthand accounts of more than seventy who have served in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.Through multiple, never-before-told stories, readers will uncover the personal challenges of the battlfield. You’ll hear about the experiences and perspectives of deployed soldiers; chaplains; military wives, widows, parents and siblings; organizers of humanitarian efforts; veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder; missionaries to the Middle East and more.

Faith Deployed by Jocelyn Green speaks to relevant issues the miltary wife faces both in war and peace time. Fourteen other Christian military wives have contributed to this volume, hailing from all branches of service. With such a wide range of experiences (including active duty, reserves and National Guard), every military wife can relate to something in this book.

Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania by Cerella Sechrist ~ Sadie Spencer has learned that in life, as well as in food, sour balances sweet. Returning to her hometown of Hershey with a five-year-old daughter, she manages to rise from the ashes following the death of her husband and the passing of her mother and the dissolution of her career as a TV chef. She opens a restaurant and looks forward to savoring the sweet side of lifeuntil a handsome Russian entrepreneur arrives in town, apparently intent on opening up his own restaurant in direct competition to hers. Sadie becomes obsessed with honing the one skill shes never hadcreating dessertsto keep up with her adversary and in the process, she finds a love thats simply icing on the cake.

Winners will be announced on Saturday, 02/27/10.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

London, England, 1818

Mr. Peter O'Brien felt surely he had a devil plaguing him, and the devil's name was Mr. Phillip Mornay.

The paper in his hand should have made him happy. Indeed, it ought to have elicited nothing but joy after two years of holding a curacy that didn't pay enough to feed a church-mouse. Yet, instead he was staring ahead after reading a letter of recommendation for him as though he'd seen a ghost.

His previous naval commander, Colonel Sotheby, had recommended Mr. O'Brien to a wealthy landowner whose vicarage had gone vacant. It was the sort of letter that a poor Curate should rejoice over. The man who obtained the vicarage in the parish of Glendover, the Colonel said, in addition to having a decent curate's salary, would have claim to a large glebe, a generous and well built house, and, in short, would see himself by way of having enough to begin a family. (If he found a wife to marry, first, of course. O'Brien could just hear the Colonel's good-natured laugh ring out at that remark.)

But still his own mouth was set in an unpromising hard line: The landowner's name was Mr. Phillip Mornay, none other than the Paragon,himself. And Mornay, Mr. O'Brien knew, would never grant him the living. To do so would go against everything he knew to be true of him. After all, no man who had once overstepped his bounds with Mr. Mornay's betrothed, as Mr. O'Brien unfortunately had, would now be presented to the vicarage on the man's lands. Of all the rotten, devilish luck! To have such a letter of commendation was like gold in the fiercely competitive world of the church, where there were more poor curates looking for a rise in their situations than there were church parishes who could supply them.

Therefore, instead of the boon from heaven this letter ought to have been, Mr.O'Brien was struck with a gloomy assurance that Mornay would sooner accept a popinjay in cleric's clothing than himself. Even worse, his mother agreed with his appraisal.

He had taken the letter into the morning room of their house on Blandford Street, joining his mother while she sat at her breakfast.

"You do not wish to renew old grievances," she said. "Mr. Mornay is not, to my knowledge, a forgiving man; shall you be put to the expense and trouble of travelling all the way to Middlesex, only to be turned down in the end? What can you possibly gain in it?"

Mr. O'Brien nodded; he saw her point. But he said, "I may have to do just that. The Colonel will never recommend me for another parish if he learns that I failed to apply myself to this opportunity."

"Write to him," replied his mama. "See if you can politely decline this honour, with the understanding that any other offer should be most welcome and appreciated!"

He doubted that any letter , no matter how "politely" written, would be able to manage his desire to avoid this meeting with Mornay, as well as secure the hope of a future recommendation. But he thought about it, put quill to paper and sent the Colonel a reply. He asked (in the humblest terms he could manage) if the man might commend him for a living to be presented by some other landowner, indeed, any other landowner, any other gentleman in England than Phillip Mornay.

He could not explain the full extent of his past doings with Mr. Mornay without making himself sound like an utter fool; how he had hoped to marry the present Mrs. Mornay himself, some years ago. How presumptuous his hopes seemed to him now! Miss Ariana Forsythe was magnificent as the wife of the Paragon. He'd seen them in town after the marriage, but without ever presenting himself before her. It appalled even him that he had once thought himself worthy or equal to that beautiful lady.

When the Colonel's reply came, there was little surprise in it. He assured Mr. O'Brien that his apprehensions were ill-placed; that Mr. Mornay's past reputation of being a harsh, irascible man was no longer to the purpose. Colonel Sotheby himself held Mornay in the greatest respect, and insisted that the Paragon had as good a heart as any Christian. In short, (and he made this terribly clear) Mr. O'Brien had best get himself off to Middlesex or he would put the Colonel in a deuced uncomfortable spot. He had already written to Aspindon House, which meant that Mr. O'Brien was expected. If he failed to appear an interview, he could not expect that another recommendation of such merit and generosity would ever come his way again.

Mr. O'Brien realized it was inevitable: he would have to go to Middlesex and present himself to Mornay. He knew it was a vain cause, that nothing but humiliation could come of it, but he bowed to what he must consider the will of God. He knelt in prayer, begging to be excused from this doomed interview, but his heart and conscience told him he must to it. If he was to face humiliation, had he not brought it upon himself? Had he not earned Mornay's disregard, with his former obsession with Miss Forsythe, who was now Mrs. Mornay?

He no longer had feelings for the lady, but it was sure to be bless'd awkward to face her! No less so than her husband. Nevertheless, when he rose from his knees, Peter O'Brien felt equal to doing what both duty and honour required. He only hoped that Mr. Mornay had not already written his own letter of objections to the Colonel; telling him why he would never present the living to Peter O�Brien. The Colonel was his best hope for a way out of St. Pancras . It was a gritty, desperate parish with poverty, crime, and hopelessness aplenty not the sort of place he hoped to spend his life in, for he wanted a family. A wife.

Prepared to face the interview come what may, Mr. O'Brien determined not to allow Mornay to make quick work of him. He was no longer the youthful swain, besotted over a Miss Forsythe. A stint in the Army, if nothing else, had hardened him, brought him face to face with deep issues of life, and left him, or so he thought, a better man.


Aspindon House, Glendover, Middlesex

Ariana Mornay looked for the hundredth time at her younger sister Beatrice, sitting across from her in the elegantly cozy morning room of her country estate, Aspindon. Here in the daylight, Beatrice's transformation from child to warm and attractive young woman was fully evident. When Mrs. Forsythe and Beatrice had arrived the prior evening, Ariana had seen the change in her sister, of course, but the daylight revealed it in a clarity that neither last night's flambeaux (lit in honour of their arrival) or the interior candlelight and fire of the drawing room had been able to offer.

Beatrice's previously brown hair was now a lovely luminous russet. Ringlets peeked out from a morning cap with ruffled lace, hanging over her brow and hovering about the sides of her face. The reddish brown of her locks emphasized hazel-green eyes, smallish mischievous lips and a healthy glow in her cheeks. Beatrice noticed her elder sister was studying her, and smiled.

"You still look at me as if you know me not," she said, not hiding how much it pleased her to find herself an object of admiration.

"I cannot comprehend how greatly you are altered, in just one year!"

"I regret that we did not come for so long," put in Mrs. Forsythe, the girls' mother. She was still feasting her eyes upon Ariana and the children (though the nurse, Mrs. Perler, had taken four year old Nigel, the Mornay's firstborn, from the room, after he had spilled a glass of milk all over himself minutes ago). "We wished to come sooner, as you know, but Lucy took ill, and I dared not carry the sickness here to you with your new little baby." At this, she stopped and cooed to the infant, who was upon her lap at the moment. "No, no, no," she said, in the exaggerated tone that people use when addressing babies, "we can't have little Miranda getting sick, now can we?"
Ariana smiled. "It matters not, mama. You are here, now. I only wish Papa and Lucy could have joined you." Lucy, the youngest Forsythe sister, and Papa, had been obliged to stay home until the spring planting had been seen to. Mr. Forsythe did not wish to be wholly bereft of his family,so Lucy, who was a great comfort to him, had been enjoined to remain in Chesterton for his sake.

"I could not bear to wait upon your father a day longer," she answered with a little smile. "They will come by post chaise after papa has done his service through Easter. And then we will all be together--except for the Norledges. Perhaps when Papa comes, he may bring your older sister and her husband?"

"I would want Aunt Pellham too, in that case," murmured the blond-haired young woman.

"Oh, my! With your Aunt and Uncle Pellham, and the Norledges, even this large house would be filled with guests, I daresay!" said her mother.

Beatrice was still happily ingesting the thought that Ariana had evidently noticed her womanhood. At seventeen, hers was not a striking sort of beauty one did not stop in instant admiration upon spying Beatrice in a room, for instance, as had often been the case for Ariana; but the younger girl had no lack of wits, a lively eye and countenance, and, not to be understated, an easy friendliness. Among a group of reserved and proper English young ladies, Beatrice would be the beacon of refuge for the timid; she was welcoming where others were aloof; inquisitive and protective where others looked away.

Nor was she the sort of young woman to glide across a floor, dignified and elegant. Instead, Beatrice was ever having to keep her energy in check; When rising from a chair (her mama had made her practice doing so countless times) she could appear as elegant as the next young woman. She ate nicely, even daintily. But left unchecked, her natural enthusiasm might propel her through a room with alarming speed. Her shawls were ever hanging from her arms, never staying in place over her shoulder; and her mother forbade her from wearing hair jewellery, as it tended to lose its place upon her head. Bandeaux were her lot; besides bonnets, of course.

"It is fortunate that I am only seventeen," she had said to her mama only last week, while the woman was draping a wide bandeau artfully around Beatrice's head. "Or I believe you would exile every manner of female head attire from this house, saving turbans! Although my hair holds a curl twice as long as Lucy's!"

Mrs. Forsythe had paused from her ministrations and met her daughter's eyes in the looking glass before them. "I daresay you are suited for turbans; perhaps we should shop for some. I believe they are very popular just now." Since the last thing in the world Beatrice wished to wear upon her head was a turban, no matter how many ladies in the pages of La Belle Assemble wore them, she simply gave voice to an exasperated huff, evoking a knowing smile upon her mama's face.

"I should adore a full house of guests," she said, now. "Please do invite the Norledges, Ariana! Only think of the diversions we could have; play-acting with enough people to fill all the roles, for a change! Or charades; or even a dance!"

Ariana looked at her sister fondly. "Which dances do you like best?"

"The waltz!" she quickly responded, with a smile to show that she knew it was mischievous to prefer the waltz, the single dance which entailed more contact with the opposite sex than any other ballroom fare. Mrs. Forsythe clucked her tongue, but Beatrice blithely ignored this, taking a peek at her brother-in-law to gauge his reaction, instead. The host of the gathering was reading his morning paper, however, and not listening to the small talk between his wife and her relations.

And relations were virtually all around him. In addition to Beatrice and Mrs. Forsythe, there was his aunt, Mrs. Royleforst, staying with them at the present, and her companion, skinny, nervous Miss Bluford. These two ladies had not appeared yet for breakfast, which was probably on account of Mrs. Royleforst. She found mornings difficult and either slept in, or took a tray in her room.

"What do you think, sir?" asked Mrs. Forsythe, of her host. "Shall my daughter invite the Norledges to join Mr. Forsythe and Lucy when they set out for your house? Or is your home already filled enough for your liking?"

Mr. Mornay looked over his paper enough to acknowledge that he had heard her question. "As it is your and my wife's family, I think the two of you must decide upon it. As long as there are bed-chambers enough," he added, looking at Ariana, "you may fill them with guests as you please."

"Thank you, darling," she said, making Beatrice stifle a titter. Her sister and her husband were still inordinately romantic, to her mind. Good thing no one else was present save her mother! She would have been embarrassed for them in company.

"Shall I take the baby, mama?" said Ariana, for Miranda was beginning to fuss.

"I suppose she wants to be fed," agreed her mother. Ariana nodded to a maid who was seated against the wall, who went and received the child from her grandmother and brought her gingerly to her mama. Ariana's eyes sparkled with happiness as she took her little girl. She murmured to the baby, by turns picking her up and kissing her face, and then just holding her in her arms and gazing at her in loving adoration. "I shan't feed her yet," she said. "She isn't insisting upon it."

Beatrice's thoughts were still upon the diversions that would be possible with a large group staying at the house. "If they all come, can you and Mr.Mornay hold a ball, Ariana? Or, will you take me to London this year for the Season? Then I may go to as many balls as I like, and you will not have the expense of holding them!"

"If she takes you to London for the Season," put in her mama, "she will have a great deal more expense than just that of a ball! Besides which,you are too young for such."

Beatrice looked at her mama, her enthusiasm temporarily dampened. "But my sister sees I am older, now," she said, looking at Ariana with a silent plea in her gaze. "And I am not too young for a Season, according to the magazines. Many girls my age do have their coming out, mama!"

"Many gels," she returned, instantly, "have little sense, and their parents, no better; your papa and I did not allow either of your sisters to go about in society at your age. You have been already too pampered, if you ask me. London society is out of the question!"

Beatrice was now thoroughly dampened in her spirits, but she looked about and settled her eyes upon her brother-in-law. "I daresay Mr. Mornay has seen many a girl of my age--and younger, make their debut during the Season. And to no ill effect! Why, I am sure some of them have made the most brilliant matches! Many a man of good standing prefers a younger lady for his wife. You had ought to let me go while I am young enough to enjoy this advantage."

Mr. Mornay was frowning behind his newspaper. He knew that his young relation wanted his support in the matter, but Mr. Mornay was assuredly not in the habit of coming to the aid of young women, particularly regarding a London Season. So he said nothing, though an ensuing silence in the room told him the ladies waited for his opinion.

Ariana, who knew better, offered, "Let us discuss it another time. There are months, yet, before the Season. And with Miranda so young, I cannot decide at this point, in any case."

Beatrice, who had no idea she was treading on dangerous ground, said, "Only let Mr. Mornay tell us his thoughts! I know my mother will listen if you tell her, sir," she said, directly to him.

He put his paper down reluctantly, and then looked at Beatrice. "I think Ariana was young to face society at nineteen. At your age, you need to be sheltered, not put forth among the wolves."

Her face fell so entirely, that he almost chuckled at it. "Why are you so eager for a Season?"

She smiled a little. This was better; he was inviting her to explain so that her mother could see the good advantage in it. "I have long lived with the memory of my sister's tales of her experiences in London;" she said. "She met you there! Her coming out is what brought her to marriage, to Aspindon, to a better life! I have had my fill of Chesterton, I assure you! The prospects for marrying well in that region are as dismal as ever, if not worse;" she said. (Ariana closed her eyes at this; she could hardly bear to hear her sister telling all the reasons Phillip would most despise.) "Why does it seem that all the eligible young men in the county are either in a regiment somewhere, or at sea, or in need of a fortune? I must go to London or Bath, where there are more men one can meet!"

She paused, looking at him earnestly. "I have no fortune, sir, as you are well aware. And with your connexions, I am certain to make very advantageous acquaintances! What could be more certain? I shall end up, no doubt, just as my sister has, with a man like you, sir!" Beatrice evidently thought she was giving him a great compliment. She waited, expecting a gracious answer.

Mr. Mornay stood up, after folding his paper to a neat size. He said, "It takes more than wearing a corset to say a young lady is grown up, would you not agree?" He directed his remark to the whole room, and then settled his eyes upon Beatrice for one second too long, before giving a small bow to the women in general, and turning to leave the room. Beatrice considered his words for a moment. He had rested his eyes on her long enough so that she knew exactly what he meant.

Mr. Frederick met his master at the door, holding out a salver with a letter for Mr. Mornay, who took it but then looked curiously at the butler.

"It arrived in that condition, sir! I daresay it was lost in the mail or some such thing."

"Hmm, very good, Freddie." He held up a battered and ink-soiled missive for his wife to see, while eyeing it dubiously.
She looked amused. "Who is it from?"

He unfolded the paper, as the sealing wax was almost entirely worn off already, and scanned the signature at the bottom. "Colonel Sotheby. I'll read it in my office." She nodded, and Mr. Mornay left the room.

Beatrice was still smarting from his earlier remark, and said, as soon as he'd gone, "How 'grown up' can I be, when I am forced to exist in a small country village, with no prospects, and genteel company only upon a Sunday?"

"You overstate your case! That is not true," answered her mama, disapprovingly.
"And as for wearing a corset," Beatrice continued, after taking a sip of tea, "I do not pretend that wearing one is what makes me of age for a Season. I have formed my principles upon sound reason. I have sat beneath the tutelage of my father and of Mr. Timmons, and of his curate, and I should say my principles are well-founded."

"We are glad to hear it," Ariana said, with great forbearance, "but really, you should not be setting your mind upon seeking a man like my husband; you should be intent upon finding the man that God has chosen for you."

"And so I am!" she protested, her eyes wide and laughing. "But look at the advantage He gives me in having you for my sister! Am I to ignore that? When it could be the very means of bringing me and my future husband together?"

Ariana played absently with little Miranda's blanket, tucking it in about her chin more snugly. She met her sister's eyes. "London is not the only place a young woman may meet a husband. And if you want my husband's approval of your plan, the last thing in the world you should tell him is that you want to meet a man like him! Or that you wish to marry above you in any way!"

"But is it above me? To marry well? When my sister is Mrs. Mornay of Aspindon House?"

"It is above you," said her mother, "because you are Miss Forsythe of Chesterton."

"I am a gentleman's daughter," she replied.
"With no dowry to speak of," said her mama.

Beatrice's cheeks began to burn. "With a rich and famous brother-in-law!" she said, petulantly.

"That does not signify!" said her mother.
"It does, to me!"

"It should not!" Mrs. Forsythe was quickly growing ashamed of her daughter, and she was relieved that Mr. Mornay had left the room, and was not hearing Beatrice right now. Ariana's eyebrows were raised and she was doing her best to act as though she had no part in the dialogue.

"But it does, mama!"

"Beatrice! You have already said far too much on this topic, which proves to me your great ignorance of the world." She held up her hand for silence as Beatrice was about to protest; "Not another word! I shan't have it, not another word." Mrs. Forsythe turned her attention to her elder daughter.

"I think I will visit the Nursery to see how Nigel is faring. Do you mind?"

"Of course not! He will enjoy showing you his toys." She smiled, while her mother rose to leave the room." I'll be up myself, shortly,to feed the baby."

"Very good." She nodded to her daughter, and then her eye fell upon Beatrice. "I think it would be wise if you said nothing more regarding a Season. In fact, I forbid you to mention it to Mr. Mornay again! Do you understand me?"

"I do, mama." Beatrice was not happy but she recognized the tone of voice her mother was using. She considered, moreover, that it would be a simple matter to keep from mentioning her hopes to the man, for he evidently would not encourage her in them. But as for herself, she would continue to think of the Season in London. She would continue to hope; and some other day, when Ariana was in a good disposition, she would prevail upon her to sponsor her in London.

Beatrice did not want to seem disrespectful, but she knew that Mr. Mornay was quite in error regarding her. He did not know, for instance, that she was determined to make a good match, and recognized it as her lot in life. Every inch she saw of Aspindon just confirmed her sense that a rich life awaited her. She was born for it. And now all that was necessary was to meet her future husband, the man who could make it all happen. She had long prayed for just such a meeting, and knew that it was bound to occur. All she had to do was be properly outfitted and in the proper company, for it to do so.

All she had to do was change her sister and brother-in-law's mind on the matter.

How difficult could that be?
Be sure to stop by The Borrowed Book on Friday for your chance to win a copy of The Country House Courtship by Linore Burkard. Winner will be announced Saturday, 02/27/10.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Linore Rose Burkard creates Inspirational Romance for the Jane Austen Soul. Her characters take you back in time to experience life and love during the era of Regency England (circa 1800 - 1830).

Ms. Burkard's novels include Before the Seasons Ends, The House in Grosvenor Square, and The Country House Courtship. Her stories blend Christian faith and romance with well-researched details from the Regency. With influences like Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, Linore delights in bringing the regency to life for her readers, and, in the tradition of regencies, with manners, morals, romance and humor. Linore's readers experience a romantic age, where England from the past comes alive and happy endings are possible for everyone.

Publisher's Weekly affirms, "Ms. Burkard's command of period detail is impressive, evident in material details, but also in dialogue. Her novels even help non-Regencyphiles learn the difference between ladies' pelisses and spencers...On the whole, it's a tasty confection."

Ms. Burkard began writing when she couldn't find a Regency romance with an inspirational twist. "There were Christian books that approached the genre," she says, "But, they fell short of being a genuine Regency. I knew that many women like me want stories that are historically authentic and offer glimpses of God's involvement in our lives. So, I finally gave up looking and decided to write one myself."

Ms. Burkard was raised in New York, where she graduated magna cum laude from the City University of New York with a Bachelor of Arts in English literature. She lives with her husband and five children in a town full of antique stores and gift shops in southwestern Ohio. Her hobbies include working on four new Regency novels, family movie nights, swimming, and gardening.

Linore, your tag line is "Inspirational Romance for the Jane Austen Soul". How did a girl from Queens, NY become enamored with the Regency era and come to write novels in that genre but with an inspirational twist?

By my twenties I had discovered Georgette Heyer (called the Queen of the Regency Romance) and then I re-discovered Jane Austen. Christian fiction was just starting to take off, and I kept hoping for a Christian regency to read, but it never materialized. I finally realized that if this book was going to be written, it would have to be by me! So, I wrote the book I wanted to read.

How has Jane Austen's work influenced yours? Who else has inspired your writing?

Austen shows that "romance" does not have to be seen as less literary than other genres, and that wit, taste and depth of character are as important as plot. Georgette Heyer, as I mentioned, was an influence; and beyond them, I suppose it is just that I always read a great deal, and really longed to fashion a story where the gospel was included, but to have it in there naturally, so that readers wouldn't feel preached to. I love all the James Herriot books, Dickens, the Brontes, and other English writers.

You graduated magna cum laude from the City University of New York with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. Did you pursue that degree with the goal of becoming a novelist?

No, I wasn't confident enough to ever think I'd write novels and have them published. Writing was something I couldn't seem to get away from, but I never dreamed I'd succeed at it. I majored in English Lit. just because I love it!

What do you hope readers will take away from your books?

I hope my readers will feel as though they've been transported to an amazing world of the past, with living characters and places so real they can almost reach out and touch them. I love it when readers write to me to say they just had a wonderful mini-vacation--reading my book! Some say they've had a spiritually encouraging journey while reading--and that means everything to me.

Any Regency romance is going to be compared to Jane Austen's novels. How are your books similar / different?

I don't think most regencies are written to be like Jane, and mine are no exception. I'm not competing with Jane Austen; I'm re-visiting the world she wrote about, though; and that is the similarity. When readers say my writing is "Austen-like", I take that as a huge compliment, but that's when I think it's wise not to believe my own press! (smile)

Do you have more Regency novels planned?

Right now I'm working on a regency time-travel that is dying to be a screenplay! I'm writing it as a novel, but little scenes creep in where, at their end, I actually type in "fade to black," before I realize what I've done. That's all I'm going to say about the new book for now, but readers can rest assured that it will be different enough to delight them, but similar in the sense that it's still me writing, it's still my voice.

Can you give us a sneak peek into The Country House Courtship?

Country House is the third book in the Regency Series, and gives one of the minor characters from the first books her own "day in the spotlight," her own romance. It begins about five years later (about 1818) and sees Mr. O'Brien (a curate, now) to a happy marriage of his own. There's a little bit of mystery, a villain (an Austenesque villain--not a serial killer, in other words!)and a denouement that I hope will leave people smiling and satisfied.

How do the secrets of your characters come to life?

Slowly. Some writers can easily locate the secrets of their characters, but mine usually take time. I need time to discover their weak spots, their tender points, and their regrets. I have to often ask myself, "Why? Why is this character acting or saying what they do or say? Why are they the way they are? Their secrets lie in the answers to these questions.

You are married and have five children. How have you been able to strike a balance between your family and your writing career?

This is not something you can do once, and then rest in. People are always growing and changing, and as the needs of my family change, I have to change too. Early on, I only wrote when my kids were asleep or when my husband watched them for me. I believe my word from the Lord at that time was that family had to come first. They were my first ministry. As they got older, I found more windows of time to work in, but striking a balance is sometimes like walking a tightrope and other times making conscious choices. No one can do everything. I try to put people before things (emotional needs come first, before a clean house, for example); and I use lists, career goals, monthly goals and daily to-do lists to help me balance it all.

What insight can you offer to aspiring authors?

Dare to dream big, because God is big! Remember that your success never depends solely upon you; there's a bigger plan at work and if you stay plugged in to your Guide, He'll move you along it. But you must work hard, seek to improve your craft by learning from those ahead of you, listen to advice and criticism-and get on the web. Start a blog if you aren't ready for a website. Join the ACFW-The American Christian Fiction Writers (if you write fiction). Or the Writer's Guild. Or another professional organization of like-minded writers. Network, do conferences, and write, write, write.

Some authors report writing 5-10 thousand words a day. Do scenes flow freely from your veins, or do you have to tweeze each word out?

In general, I write more than I need and later have to cut back. I don't use a word count, but I may set a goal of one chapter a day or two chapters for a busy week. Other times, I don't think in terms of chapters at all, just events. I may break an event down into four scenes, say, and so my goal for that day will be to get the whole event on paper. In other words, finish the four scenes. Life changes so rapidly with the children, that for me, a hard and fast writing goal just wouldn't work. And, I focus on results, not time spent. Instead of, "Now I'll write for three hours," I say, "Now I'll have this or that happen to a character, or, 'I'll show a different side to this person." When I have accomplished that goal, no matter how long it took, I feel satisfied, and only then.

Want more? Stop by The Borrowed Book tomorrow for an excerpt from The Country House Courtship by Linore Rose Burkard!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Jocelyn Green, a former Coast Guard wife, is the author of Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives (along with 14 contributing writers). She is also co-author of Battlefields & Blessings: Stories of Faith and Courage from the War in Iraq & Afghanistan and the contributing editor to the award-winning Battlefields & Blessings: Stories of Faith and Courage from World War 2. Jocelyn is also an award-winning freelance writer and editor, writing for nonprofits, universities, magazines, websites and corporations. She is an active member of the Evangelical Press Association, the Christian Authors Network and the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. Jocelyn and her husband Rob have two children, a dog, and a cat.

When did you decide to be a writer?
I have always wanted to be a writer, ever since I could hold a pencil. My first writing project was to narrate the pages of my Bugs Bunny coloring book.

I majored in English at Taylor University in Indiana and wrote for the college newspaper. My first job after graduation was as the editor and project manager at the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities in Washington, D.C. But when I married a Coast Guard officer and moved to Alaska, that job ended and I decided to give freelance writing a try.

At what point did you stop juggling suggestions and critiques and trust yourself (as a writer)?

I think most writers still second-guess themselves—at least we should, or else it’s very easy to get lazy. Even though I’ve published dozens of articles and two books, and even though I do trust that I can write well, I am not naïve enough to believe that I write well on the first draft, or the second. I edit myself quite a bit.

Are you a disciplined writer or do you just write when you feel like it?

Disciplined—I have to be. I hired a babysitter to watch my one- and three-year-old for about ten hours a week so I can write without interruption. When I pay someone else to watch my kids, writers block disappears- I literally cannot afford to wait for the inspiration to hit me, I have to just sit down and write. I have certain work hours, and I simply have to be productive during that period of time.

What kind of activities to you like to do that help you relax and step away from your deadlines for a bit?

I love to read, bake and scrapbook, but when there isn’t time for that, a quick walk in the neighborhood or downtown to the local coffee shop does the trick. I also love playing with my kids. They are so wonderful for helping me to keep all things in perspective. They couldn’t care less if I miss a deadline or if I get rave reviews. They just want to be with me, and they are at such fun ages right now.

What is your favorite novel (not written by you) and what made it special?

What a hard question! I have many favorites from a wide variety of authors from William Faulkner and Harper Lee to Philippa Gregory, but I’ll just name two: Anne of Green Gables is a classic favorite. It was special to me because I read it when I was about “Anne’s” age and I loved her imagination and spirit. My family also took a trip to Prince Edward Island, where the Anne books are set, when I was 16, and of course visiting the sites made the book and characters come alive even more.

I also have to mention the Zion Covenant series by Brock and Bodie Thoene, which I read in junior high. This was my first introduction into historical fiction (my favorite genre) and I was hooked by the World War 2 intrigue. I could probably read those books today and enjoy them just as much.

How do you think reading the work of others helps you as a writer?
In nonfiction, I love to see how other writers let their “voices” shine through. Sometimes it means being vulnerable and exposing a painful side, sometimes it means being unafraid to either stand up and say what you really mean, or to poke a little fun at yourself and be willing to be laughed at.

There is much to be learned from reading fiction, too: pacing, dialogue, creating emotion, character development, plot structure—I tried to keep all these things in mind while I was sharing stories from our current war in my latest Battlefields & Blessings book: Stories of Faith and Courage from the War in Iraq & Afghanistan.

Tell us a little about your latest release:

This book, mentioned above, is a 365-day collection of inspiring stories from people connected to the war. You’ll hear from soldiers, military wives and widows, Blue Star and Gold Star moms, contract workers, humanitarian aid workers, chaplains, medics, victims of the 9-11-01 attacks, and more. My two co-authors and I interviewed close to 70 people to get these stories- they are all firsthand accounts, many of them never-before-told stories. Someone once said that journalism is the first draft of history. I have to say that I was so excited to work on this project because we really did record history in the making. The stories you’ll find in this book reveal God’s faithfulness and presence in times of uncertainty and danger—I cried many tears as I wrote this book because the stories are so powerful, and I have cried again just reading it!

You co-authored this book. Was that process difficult? What tips would you give people considering co-authoring?

I could not have done this book without my co-authors, Jane Hampton Cook and John Croushorn, and they would say the same thing. It would have been too difficult to write this entirely on my own, especially since my daughter was two years old at the time, I was pregnant with my son and working on two other book manuscripts simultaneously. Not only did the work get done faster with three of us, but each of us had different networks of contacts from which to find our sources. So it was a very positive experience.

If you are considering co-authoring, I would say just keep communicating with each other to make sure you are on the same page with tone, format, subject, etc. If you are working with contributing writers, give very clear direction. My co-author Jane is a master at this. She created a guidelines document for everyone who was interested in contributing. In it, she provided background information on the project, the publisher, and bios of all three of us authors. She outlined who we wanted to contribute to the book, what types of stories we were interested in, topic ideas, deadlines, word counts and format. She even included sample devotions.

Where did you get your inspiration for Battlefields & Blessings: Stories of Faith and Courage from the War in Iraq & Afghanistan?

This project landed in my lap—the publisher was looking for another co-author and came to my agent, who recommended me because he knew of my heart for and connection to military families, since I had been a military wife myself. Also, as a freelance writer for magazines, I already had lots of experience interviewing people and helping them share their stories, so this was a natural fit for me.

You’ve written another book called Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives. Obviously, you feel called to minister to our men and women in the military. Can you share what led you to do that?

My own experiences as a military wife led me to spearhead this book project. Two days after I married a Coast Guard officer in Washington, D.C., we moved to his next duty station, which was Homer, Alaska. As I dug into God’s Word, I began to see the Bible with new eyes- the eyes of a military wife. Romans 8, which speaks of nothing being able to separate us from God’s love, reminded me that while my earthly groom was often absent, my heavenly bridegroom was always with me. Revelations 19 talks about the second coming of Christ—as a military wife I knew what it meant to get ready for my husband’s homecoming, so I saw with new meaning this passage about being ready to meet Christ face-to-face.

The more I learned simply because of my paradigm shift, the more I wanted to learn and grow. When I didn’t find a book full of these types of insights relevant for military wives, I decided to write it, but with the help of fourteen other Christian military wives from every branch of service. Because of their contributions, the book is far richer than I could ever have written alone.

We live in a world that pushes a “me-first” philosophy. The men and women in the military lay that aside in order to serve their country. How do you think ordinary Christians go about defending themselves against this kind of self-idolatry?

All of us can do this if we consider it a daily calling of making small sacrifices. We guard against self-idolatry by being intentional and by accepting interruptions to our own schedules. For instance, we can be deliberate about investing in other people’s lives through mentoring, volunteering, and certainly raising children is a virtually fool-proof way to not serve our own interests first. Interruptions come in many forms: bringing over a meal to a neighbor in need, doing an errand for a housebound mom with a sick child or even lending a listening ear are all activities that take the focus off of ourselves, which is a good thing. Sometimes an interruption like that is just what God has on the agenda for our day.

What is the main thing you hope readers remember from this story?

The main thing I hope readers will gain from both of my books is a renewed confidence that God is faithful. That doesn’t mean we’ll never experience blinding pain in this life. But God will not forsake us even in those times, and He’ll be the One walking us through those valleys, holding our hands. He weeps with us when we weep. But here’s the good news: “Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5b).

What kinds of things have you done to market this book? Have you found anything that works particularly well?

Moody Publishers was wonderful to set up a number of radio interviews for me when Faith Deployed released. I’ve also created a Web site/blog and Facebook fan page, through which I share more encouragement and insights. Several military wife bloggers have reviewed Faith Deployed and given a copy away (which I provide) which helps generate Internet buzz. I do my best to get articles and book excerpts published in magazines, too, but I think the best tool has been Facebook. I have also found a few hundred churches that are particularly supportive of military families and suggested ways they can use Faith Deployed as a resource. That has been effective in many cases.

Really, word of mouth has been the greatest thing when it comes from people who have been really encouraged by the book. And of course, the 14 other women who contributed to the book helped with that-another plus to having multiple writers on a project.

Tell us what new projects you’re working on.

In addition to pursuing ways to expand my Faith Deployed ministry to military wives, I recently signed a contract with AMG Publishers to be a contributing editor for the upcoming book by Larkin Spivey, Battlefields &Blessings: Stories of Faith and Courage from Viet Nam. I’m also working on a book proposal right now for a devotional book for parents of special needs children.

Do you have any parting words of advice?

My advice to new writers would be to not get discouraged if you haven’t found a publisher yet. I set a record with my literary agent for being the client to rack up the most rejections before finally finding a publisher three years after we started looking for one. And while I thought those three years were a time of just waiting, God used those three years as a time of preparation. During that period, I got better at writing, I made contacts that became valuable endorsers and I met all the women God wanted to contribute to the book. If I had gotten my contract right away, the book would not be as good, I’m sure of it.
Jocelyn is giving away a copy of BOTH of her books! Be sure to stop by The Borrowed Book on Friday for your chance to win!

Monday, February 22, 2010

While growing up, I adored books. I think it started with my mom, who read to me consistently as a child. Being a theater buff, every storybook was a production of appropriate voices, exclamations and characterizations. I fell in love with stories at an early age.

Like most children, I spent quite a bit of time considering what I would like to ‘be’ when I grew up. My ambitions included a lawyer, nurse, singer, archeologist and marine biologist until the age of ten, when I watched a movie where the main character was a novelist. A light bulb went off. Somewhere out there, all those books I’d been reading, originated with a WRITER. It had never dawned on me before that one day, I could tell stories just like the ones I’d been soaking up for years.

Armed with this new knowledge, I announced my intentions to my mother. She smiled indulgently but remarked it was probably a ‘phase’. Twenty years later, I’ve finally seen a novel in print, and my mom has long since recognized my ambition was no passing thing. I wrote my first book at 16 and began trying to sell it at 17. Several novels and thirteen years later, I’ve finally achieved my goal.
When did you decide to be a writer?
I was ten years old and had just finished watching a movie in which the main character was a novelist. Up to that point, it had never dawned on me that the books I loved so much originated with an AUTHOR. It was quite a revelation for me! So I went to my mom and told her this is what I was going to be when I grew up – a writer. She smiled and nodded her head but dubbed it a ‘phase’. (I was only ten, after all, and up to that point, there had been a long list of things I wanted to do ‘when I grew up.’) But twenty years later, here I am, and my mom has long since recognized it was not just a passing phase.

How long did you write before you sold your first book?

Since I decided at age ten that I wanted to be a writer, I used my childhood to read as much as possible in a variety of genres. I wrote here and there throughout my early teens and then at sixteen, I wrote my first novel. I started submitting it to publishers at seventeen, without success. I continued to write several books before Love Finds You in Hershey, which is my debut. It took me thirteen years from trying to sell that first book to seeing this one in print.

Everyone’s journey to publication is different. Now that you’ve walked that road, what tips can you give to authors still hoping for that first contract?

Although my journey felt like a very long one, I still feel I did a lot of things right – I’m grateful that I learned as much as I could about the publishing industry along the way so there were less surprises when I actually received a contract. The one thing I wish I had done sooner was establish some of my online presence. I feel my website, blog and social networking is very strong and growing every day, but I spent an inordinate amount of time getting those established in the months before the book came out. The benefits of online networking are huge, and if you can get a jump on that ahead of time, so much the better!

Was there something about the experience of getting published that was a surprise to you?

Fortunately, because of all my research throughout the years, I was prepared for a lot of what came my way with the publication of a first novel. The biggest surprise is probably the amount of time an author puts into promotion and getting the word out about their book – I knew I’d have a lot of responsibility this way, I just wasn’t aware how great that responsibility would be. It’s been crazy but also a tremendous learning experience. I’ve really enjoyed it!

Are you a disciplined writer or do you just write when you feel like it?

If I wrote only when I felt like it, I would rarely write! I enjoy brainstorming and plotting more than the actual writing, so I have to discipline myself to sit down and put my visualized scenes on paper. I was homeschooled growing up, and this really helped me establish the necessary disciplines to sit down and write something every day.

What kind of activities to you like to do that help you relax and step away from your deadlines for a bit?

I can obsess over things like deadlines so I have to physically remove myself from my computer in order to get some distance from that type of thing. I’ll usually schedule some time with a friend to distract me and help me relax – going out for coffee, perusing a bookstore together or just seeing a movie often helps give me some perspective so I can return to the deadline refreshed and ready to dig in!

What is your favorite novel (not written by you) and what made it special?

It is sooooo difficult to choose only one! Hmm, the Christian fiction novel(s) that continues to resonate for me is Francine River’s Mark of the Lion trilogy, especially the first book: A Voice in the Wind. Rivers has such a gift for highlighting the depth of what an individual can experience. This trilogy on ancient Rome and the persecution of Christians just went straight to my heart and has stayed with me. The characters were varied, and even in living through things most of us haven’t experienced, there were moments to relate to and a lot of things to appreciate. I still love it, even though it’s been years since I read it.

How do you think reading the work of others helps you as a writer?

I’m a big believer in reading as many different genres as possible to round yourself out as a writer. Just because you write in a particular genre doesn’t mean you can’t learn plenty from reading outside your area of expertise. Historicals give you an appreciation of meticulous research. Fantasy can teach you how to create elaborate details and then maintain consistency within them. Mysteries highlight the emphasis of perfectly executed misdirection. That’s just the beginning. By reading a little of everything, I hope it’s made me a more complete writer, no matter what genre I’m writing in.

Tell us a little about your latest release:

Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania is the story of Sadie, a single mom and restaurateur who is looking forward to savoring the sweet side of life until a mysterious Russian entrepreneur shows up in town with plans to open a competing restaurant across the street from her own. Add to the mix her n’er-do-well father, who has come back into her life seeking forgiveness, her best friend who declares he’s falling in love with her and the antics of her impish five-year-old daughter, and she’s got a recipe for disaster. It’s a story filled with a lot of tasty layers – and a little chocolate in there, too.

Where did you get your inspiration for Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania?

I’m a food lover, so when I chose to write a modern-day romantic comedy, it wasn’t hard to decide on food as a theme. Having lived in southern Pennsylvania my entire life, Hershey has always been a nearby ‘sweet place’. Once I narrowed my food theme to desserts, it was a natural progression to choose Hershey as the setting. I took day trips to the town, just to enjoy all it has to offer (and smell the chocolate scent that permeates the streets!)

Which character is most like you?

It’s hard to choose just one because I see a little bit of myself in each of them. I can probably relate to Sadie, the heroine, most of all in how she struggles to prove herself in ways that can be destructive to the relationships around her. However, she’s experienced so much already in her life (loss of a spouse, the death of her mother) that there’s a big gap between our mutual life experiences. I like to think I pour a little bit of myself into each character, but beyond that, they stand on their own.

Who is your favorite character and why?

This is another tough question! I’d probably narrow it down to Kylie, Sadie’s five-year-old daughter. She brings a unique, childlike perspective to the story, and she has that uncanny ability children possess to draw out wisdom that seems beyond their years. At the same time, her antics are so outrageous that as I wrote it, I’d burst out laughing, just imagining the trouble she was getting herself into. I never expected a child character to be so entertaining, but she truly amuses me.

Did you know how Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania would turn out? Were you surprised by any of the plot twists or characters?

I always try to have the plot and most scenes loosely in place before I write, otherwise, I’m too tempted to walk away when the going gets tough. I did this with Hershey, although I remember there was one section of scenes in particular that just became too outrageous, and I had to scrap it. This did create a hiccup in my writing as I struggled to figure out how to replace those scenes and get back on track. That was really the only surprise except that when it was all said and done, I had fallen in love with it far more than I thought possible. It was the first thing I had written, that when I was finished, I felt I had done it justice and couldn’t ask any more from myself.

What is the main thing you hope readers remember from this story?

That a toilet is not just a toilet – sometimes, you can look at it as a ‘volcano’. (I know it makes no sense if you haven’t read the story, but people tell me they just don’t look at the bathroom the same way now. Again, this is thanks to the character of Kylie.)

In all seriousness, though, I want people to just remember it as a story that made them laugh, helped them feel a little lighter and perhaps reminded them that by God’s grace, who you are is sufficient – no matter if you possess all the talents you’d like to have.

What kinds of things have you done to market this book? Have you found anything that works particularly well?

I’ve been trying to do a variety of marketing: blog interviews and giveaways, press releases, radio, speaking engagements, book signings, and when all else fails…I bribe people with chocolate. Because a book set in Hershey gives me the perfect opportunity to do that!

Tell us what new projects you’re working on.

I’ve finished the first book in a (hopefully) series about three sisters who are working at mending some of their past relationships. (I love sibling stories! There are so many layers to be found there!) I also started out by writing historicals, so I’m hoping to get back to that at some point. In particular, I have a pirate story I wrote years ago that I’d like to try telling again. We’ll see. =)

Do you have any parting words of advice?

Writing is a personal thing, so it’s hard when receiving rejection from a publisher, NOT to take it personally. It helps, though, to remember many things can affect a book’s acceptance or rejection, and sometimes, the timing is just off with what a publisher already has in the works or is currently looking for.

If you enjoy writing, then keep writing. A story told, even if it’s only for you, is still a story that matters. Don’t measure the value of what you do on how much ‘success’ you see. At the end of the day, a story well told is STILL a story well told – and the experience of it will make you a better writer for the next time around. =)
Cerella is giving away a copy of her book, Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Be sure to stop by The Borrowed Book on Friday for your chance to win!
So, it’s Monday, which means normally, I would host a debut author. But it's also the first full week in the life of this blog. So...instead of interviewing an author, I thought you might like to know how The Borrowed Book did in its first week of life.

Here are the figures for the first week, as reported by Stat Counter:

Unique Visitors: 98
First Time Visitors: 65
Returning Visitors: 33
Page Loads: 169
Highest Traffic Day: Friday

Now, you would think the figure that would appeal most to me is the First Time visitors. That's pretty respectable for a brand new venture. But truthfully, I'm more interested in the Returning Visitors figure. That's the number that shows me whether or not I'm providing material that's of interest to YOU...the reader.
Won't you leave me a comment and let me know how I'm doing? What kinds of interviews appeal to you? Who are some of your favorite authors that you would love to know something about?
Lastly, if you enjoy what you read here, help me get the word out about the great author interviews, reader excerpts, and weekly drawings by inviting your friends to The Borrowed Book. More visitors means more great authors and even more free books!
Thanks, everyone…and I’ll see you amid the pages.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Falling Away
John 6:60-71

Often times, people who are new to Christianity find that what they expected or hoped to find by accepting Christ is not what they get. Instead of being easy, walking with Christ often proves difficult. Trials come. Life hits them hard. Sometimes, one hit is all it takes to get that person to fall away. Other times, it’s several hits, but the result is the same. So who is left standing?

Only the one who is relying on Christ.

Only the one who leans upon him, whose feet are braced by his strength and power is left standing until he comes again. Take a look at the people around you--the ones you work with and love. How many of these will fall away when the walk gets difficult? How many will be left standing with Christ a year from now, or two years from now? Remind them--and yourself--of Peter’s answer when the Lord asked him if he too, would turn away. Where would we go? Only Christ has the words of eternal life.

60 Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?”

61 When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him.

65 And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.”

66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. 67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”

68 But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

70 Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?”

71 He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

It's always so much fun to give away great books!! Congratulations to this week's lucky winners:

Jess - The Silent Seduction of Self-Talk

Vickie - The Call of Zulina

Carole - Walking on Broken Glass
Ladies, please email me with your mailing address so I can forward your information to the authors. Then, sit back and wait for your book to arrive.

Thank you all so much for stopping by The Borrowed Book and thank you, Christa Allan, Shelly Beach, and Kay Marshall Strom, for your generosity in providing books!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Entering our weekly drawing is easy:

1. Leave a comment on Fridays or...
2. Sign up to follow The Borrowed Book. Followers will automatically be entered for a chance to win that week's drawing!
This week, The Borrowed Book is giving away THREE great books:

The Silent Seduction of Self-Talk by Shelly Beach ~ We speak to ourselves at a rate of 1,300 words per minute, making constant assessments and judgments often filtered through sinful and selfish agendas. Women acknowledge that they are particularly vulnerable to this temptation and dangers of self-talk as they compare and judge themselves against others.The Silent Seduction of Self-Talk provides a readable narrative and practical tools that help readers surface the inner conflicts that churn below the waterline of their awareness. These dialogues can make them blind to the Scriptural truth that the vision they hold of themselves and the reality of their walk in Christ are often polar opposites. Shelley explores real-life examples and includes tools to assist in the spiritual disciplines of self-assessment, repentance, commitment, and transformation.

The Call of Zulina by Kay Marshall Strom ~ WEST AFRICA, 1787: Grace Winslow, daughter of a mixed marriage between an English sea captain and an African princess, is swept up in a slave revolt after she escapes the family compound to avoid an odious betrothal. As the truth about the fortress Zulina unfolds, Grace begins to grasp the brutality and ferocity of the family business--the capture and trade of slaves. Despite being held for ramsom, viciously maimed and threatened with death, Grace casts her lot with the African captives. She is especially moved by the African Cabeto's passion and willingness to sacrifice anything, including his own life, for his people's freedom. Leaning on the faith of her nanny Mama Muco, Grace risks everything to follow her heart.

Walking on Broken Glass by Christa Allan ~ Leah Thornton’s life, like her Southern Living home, has great curb appeal. But a paralyzing encounter with a can of frozen apple juice in the supermarket shatters the façade, forcing her to admit that all is not as it appears. When her best friend gets in Leah’s face about her refusal to deal with her life, Leah is forced to make an agonizing decision. Can she sacrifice what she wants to get what she needs? Joy, sadness, and pain converge, testing Leah’s commitment to her marriage, her motherhood, and her faith.

Winners will be announced on Saturday, 02/20/10.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

West Africa, 1787

Hot, dry harmattan winds swept across the African savanna and awakened the yellow-brown sand, whipping it up with wild gusts that swirled and soared high into the air. The sandy clouds that blew in with the first shards of daybreak to shroud the dawn in grit refused to release their grip, and by late afternoon a thick layer of dust coated the entire landscape. Irritated goats paused in their search for edible blades of grass to stomp and shake themselves, and the children who herded them scratched at the itchy grit in their own eyes and hair. On the road, donkeys turned their heads away from the sandy wind and refused to pull their loads. Impatient masters swiped at their own faces as they whipped at the donkeys’ flanks, but all that accomplished was to send still more billows of dust into the air.

Sand whistled through banana leaves thatched atop clusters of mud huts in villages, and it settled over the decks of ships as they rocked idly at anchor in the harbor. Even at what was mockingly called “the London house,” with its ostentatious glass windows locked tight and European bolts securing its imported doors, gritty wind found a way under and between and beneath and into.

Twenty-year-old Grace Winslow, who had claimed the plumpest of the upholstered parlor chairs for herself, shifted from one uncomfortable position to another and sighed deeply. She reached out slender fingers and brushed a newly settled layer of sand from the intricate lace trim on her new silk taffeta dress and resigned herself to the day.

“The ancestors are angry,” proclaimed Lingongo, Grace’s mother, from her imposing position beside the rattling window shutters. Silky soft kente cloth flowed over her in a kaleidoscope of handwoven color, framing her fierce beauty. Lingongo made a proud point of her refusal to sit on her husband’s English furniture--except when it was to her advantage to do so.

“Ancestors! Sech foolishness!” Joseph Winslow snorted . . . but only under his breath. “Wind jist be wind and nothin’ but wind.”

“Maybe the ancestors don’t want me to marry a snake,” Grace ventured.

No one could argue that the first harmattan of the season had roared through on the very day Jasper Hathaway first came to court her. He had swept through the front door and into the parlor in a blustering whirlwind of sand, his fleshy face streaked with sweat and his starched collar askew. He stayed on and on for the entire afternoon. Only when it became obvious that no one intended to invite him to eat supper with the family did he finally heft himself out of Joseph’s favorite chair and bid a reluctant farewell. When the door finally shut behind him and Grace’s father had thrown the bolt into place, Lingongo had turned to her daughter and warned, “Snake at your feet, a stick at your hand. So the wise men say. Keep a stick in your hand, Grace. You will need it with that snake at your feet.” .

Want more? Be sure to stop by The Borrowed Book on Friday for your chance to win a copy of The Call of Zulina by Kay Marshall Strom.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Kay Marshall Strom is the author of thirty-six published books, including her fiction trilogy, Grace In Africa. Her writing credits also include magazine articles, short stories, prize-winning screenplays, booklets for writers, and anything else that will help make the house payments. Kay is an in-demand speaker at events throughout the country.

When did you decide to be a writer?

When I was in 8th grade, I read Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. I absolutely loved the book! It astounded me to see the tremendous power of words, that what moved my heart had actually changed the heart of a nation. I wanted to write like that!

At what point did you stop juggling suggestions and critiques and trust yourself (as a writer)?

Even today, after 36 books, that is a challenge. I want everyone to love everything I write. Of course, that isn’t going to happen. Especially when I write about social justice issues. I never want to get to the place where I stop listening to others. But, yes, the time did come when I finally had enough confidence in my own writing to say, “I will listen and consider, but in the end this is my work. It’s my responsibility.”

Are you a disciplined writer or do you just write when you feel like it?

I am a disciplined writer. I make outlines, then I sit down and write. People always ask me what I do to get around writers’ block. I say: What does a dentist do if he has dentist’s block? He goes to work and works on teeth! Same with me. I go to work and write.

What kind of activities to you like to do that help you relax and step away from your deadlines for a bit?

My husband and I invested in a hot tub spa. Every morning we luxuriate in it and read, and talk about our day. It is the number one relaxation in my life! I also walk, and I pause in the afternoon for a tea break.

What is your favorite novel and what made it special?

That is so hard to say! My favorites are all over the board. But I guess I would have to say The Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens because it lit my writing passion fire. Most of my life I have written non-fiction, but I love the power of fiction to bring a social issues to blazing life.

How do you think reading the work of others helps you as a writer?

Oh, yes! Let me count the ways! I so enjoy the way John Irving turns a powerful phrase in A Prayer for Owen Meany. I love the way C.S. Lewis layers the story meaning in his Chronicles of Narnia. I love the evidence of the depths of research in Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks….

Tell us a little about your latest release:

The Call of Zulina, Book 1 of the Grace in Africa trilogy, is set in Africa at the height of the slave trade. It circles around Grace Winslow, daughter of a mixed marriage between an English slave ship captain and an African princess. Grace escapes an arranged marriage to a repulsive white slave trader only to run head-long into a slave rebellion. Only then does she realize the truth of her family’s business—the capture and trade of slaves. She must decide who she is and on which side she will stand—slave or slave holder. Leaning on the faith of the slave who raised her, Grace risks everything to follow her heart.

Book 2, The Voyage of Grace, is set mainly in London. It comes out in August.

Book 3, The Triumph of Grace, set mainly on the Southern plantations of the fledgling United States, will be available in Spring 2011.

Where did you get your inspiration for The Call of Zulina?

While I was in West Africa working on another project, I toured an old slave fortress and was struck dumb by a set of baby-sized manacles bolted to the wall. At the same time, I was researching Once Blind: The Life of John Newton, a book about the author of Amazing Grace, a slaver turned preacher and abolitionist. For awhile he was held captive by an Englishman and his African wife who ran a slave business. I couldn’t help but wonder, “If those two had a daughter, would she be English or African? Where would her loyalties lie?” That’s where the story was born. The imagined daughter became Grace. The characters of Lingongo and Joseph Winslow, her parents, are modeled after that real-life couple.

Which character is most like you?

Grace Winslow. On several levels, she had one foot in each of two worlds and had to make really hard decisions about who she would be and which direction her life would take. She starts out quite naive and self-absorbed… something I can relate to. I pray that I, too, will follow a path that leads to a life that makes my time on this earth matter.

Who is your favorite character and why?

Grace, because she remind me who I would like to be.

Did you know how The Call of Zulina would turn out? Were you surprised by any of the plot twists or characters?

I did know how it would turn out because I write out a chapter-by-chapter outline before I ever start a book. (I’ve never ascribed to the idea that a character takes over. Hey, the characters are ours!) But, yes, I was surprised by some of the twists and characters that evolved. Most often because I would get to a point in the story where I would look at my outline and say, “Yes, but what if…?” And there would be a whole new cache of possibilities.

What is the main thing you hope readers remember from this story?

The slave trade was a defining part of our country’s history. We can try to ignore it—even pretend it never happened—but there it is. It helped to mold what we and our country have become.

What kinds of things have you done to market this book? Have you found anything that works particularly well?

Writing articles and speaking are the two most beneficial things, I think. Blog tours can really help, too. I think book signings are overrated. They take a lot of time for little impact.

Tell us what new projects you’re working on.

I am just starting another fiction trilogy, Blessings in India. It will follow two families through three generations, one a high caste family with a long Christian background and the other a Dalit—untouchable—family who are their virtual slaves. Book 1 will be out next year.

Do you have any parting words of advice?

If you want to be a writer, then write. Write and write and write some more. Everyone gets better and better. No one gets worse and worse.
To learn more about Kay and her work, visit her at or on her blog at
Also, Kay is giving away a copy of her book The Call of Zulina. Be sure to visit The Borrowed Book on 02/19/10 for your chance to win!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Shelly Beach is a full-time author of seven books, as well as a national speaker. Her contemporary Christian novel, Hallie’s Heart, won a 2008 a Christy Award, and the sequel, Morningsong, released with Kregel Publishers in March of 2009. Shelly’s two caregiving books draw on the eight years that she and her family cared for parents in their home. Precious Lord, Take My Hand: Meditations for Caregivers was a finalist for the 2008 Evangelical Christian Publishers Association Award in the Gift and Inspiration category. Ambushed by Grace: Help and Hope on the Caregiving Journey was released by Discovery House Publishers in November of last year. Her most recent publication is The Silent Seduction of Self-Talk (Moody Publications).

Shelly also is a “faith expert,” writing for (an affiliate of is the Internet’s most-highly sought source of information for those caring for aging loved ones and receives approximately three-quarters of a million hits per month.

Shelly and her husband Dan have two adult children and live near Grand Rapids, where they enjoy riding their Harley motorcycle together.

When did you decide to be a writer?

I wanted to be a writer from the time I was a child. I wrote my first story in 6th grade—A Visit from Jupiter. But I made the decision to be a writer when my children were small and I decided to figure out how to actually go about learning the business of querying and researching markets and figuring how the world of publishing worked. I was a teacher at the time, so I took it on like a research project. I’d seen some pretty mediocre writing in print, and I figured I could do better. So I decided to put some research and effort behind it and go to some writers’ conferences and try to learn how.

At what point did you stop juggling suggestions and critiques and trust yourself (as a writer)?

I’m not sure I still fully trust myself to be the best expert on every aspect of my writing. I guess that’s because after writing seven books, I still consider myself a learner. I know there are things other writers and editors can teach me, and I’m eager to figure out what they are. But if the question is, “When did I stop getting tied up in self-doubt?” That’s another question. I guess I’d say a few years ago.

Are you a disciplined writer or do you just write when you feel like it?

This is a tough question. Am I allowed to lie? No, I certainly do not just write when I “feel” like it. Some days I’m in this chair for sixteen hours, and I have the numb legs to prove it. So I’d say I’m a highly disciplined writer. I’ve never missed a deadline, and I got up every morning over a Christmas holiday break with my daughter, whom I only see twice a year so I could deliver a manuscript on time.

But do I write every single day? No. I’m often slamming down on deadlines that push me to the max. When I’m done, I come up for air, take off on the Harley with my husband, and clear my head. Just two weeks ago I went to a writers’ retreat with my closest writing friends, and I didn’t write a word. I’d just finished a book the day before, and I needed to stare at the lake and sit by the fire.

What kind of activities to you like to do that help you relax and step away from your deadlines for a bit?

Ride our Harley with my husband. Travel. Be by the water or the ocean. Visit my kids. Did I mention ride our Harley with my husband?

What is your favorite novel and what made it special?

A Tale of Two Cities. Redemptive themes. Great characters. Amazing plot. Love it, love it.

How do you think reading the work of others helps you as a writer?

Reading the work of others feeds my creative energy while giving my mind the opportunity to evaluate plot, setting, characterization, voice. Reading gives me the opportunity to just wallow in the art and beauty of good writing. A good wallow is a very refreshing thing.

Tell us a little about your latest release:

My latest release is The Silent Seduction of Self-Talk: Conforming Deadly Thought Patterns to the Word of God. This book was a lot like stripping down to my spiritual undies and parading myself in front of the world. It was a book I was afraid to write because it would mean so much self-exposure. But I knew God had called me to write it, and so I had to do it.

The book is about where we go when we step away from the character of God like Adam and Eve did in the garden of Eden. We stumble straight into a lust for power, then selfish forms of self-protection, then positioning ourselves so others only see the best side of us, then self-promotion, and finally plundering (ripping off) from others and sometimes from ourselves as well. The book helps readers understand the nature of self-talk, engage in the self-talk cycle, and lean into the exciting expectancy of change that Paul talks about in the book of Philippians.

Where did you get your inspiration for The Silent Seduction of Self-Talk?

My inspiration came from my own struggle with manipulation and control. I’d been a Christian working in Christian settings for years, and I was married to a wonderful Christian man. But I was doing all the right things for all the wrong reasons. One day God planted me in an MRI tube while doctors scrabbled around trying to diagnose a golfball-sized lesion in my brain. Suddenly I was nose-to-nose with God, and my self-talk was dialed up full volume. For the first time I could see the raging inconsistencies in my thought patterns.

This book is aimed toward reconciling people’s thought patterns to the Word of God. What would you say are the biggest lies people tell themselves?

One of the biggest lies we believe is that we’re alone in our self-talk. One we recognize that God is present there with us, we can “lean into” that presence and turn out self-talk into God-talk.

Another one of the big lies we believe is that we’re loving God and loving other people when our motives are often self-centered and twisted. As James 1:16-25 says, we need to be “Quick to listen, slow to speak; do not merely listen and deceive yourselves . . . the man who looks intently . . . and continues to do this—he will be blessed in what he does.” We seldom take the time to look intently at our self-talk and see what’s really there.

We live in a world that pushes a “me-first” philosophy. How do you think Christians go about defending themselves against this kind of self-idolatry?

Too many of us are so busy checking things off our Spiritual To-Do Lists that we don’t take the time to look at what we’re really thinking and saying to ourselves. We believe we’re loving God and loving people, but we’re also defending the fact that we’re screaming and coaches and refs, taking potshots at our grumpy neighbor, grousing about the church music, sniping about our boss behind his back, and disrespecting our spouses and children—and we don’t seem to see the inconsistencies in our thinking.

What is the main thing you hope readers remember from this book?

God’s greatest gift to us is change. The most powerful moment in our lives is the moment we realize how messed up we are and we throw ourselves into the arms of Jesus. That’s the moment change can begin.

What kinds of things have you done to market this book? Have you found anything that works particularly well?

I’ve done a number of radio interviews, and I love to speak on the topic. I’ve enjoyed doing women’s seminars and retreats where I get to talk about how crazy and messed up I was and how God’s changed me and made me new. He’s changed my marriage and my relationships with my adult kids, and my thinking processes have been turned inside-out with just a few simple principles.

Tell us what new projects you’re working on.

I just finished co-authoring a beautiful and fascinating book with Dr. Don Brake titled A Visual History of the King James Version that will come out in celebration of the 400th birthday of the King James Bible in 2011. And I’m currently writing for as their faith expert on caregiving issues, as well as writing a new book on motives.

Do you have any parting words of advice?

For authors—write your passion and communicate it with everything you’ve been given. For readers, find the passion God’s placed in your and steward it with everything you’ve been given.
Shelly is giving away a copy of her book, The Silent Seduction of Self-Talk. Be sure to visit The Borrowed Book on Friday, February 19, 2010, for your chance to win!

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