Friday, April 30, 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 two great books, one a special ELECTRONIC version ready-made for Kindle:

Meander Scar by Lisa J. Lickel ~ ELECTRONIC VERSION
Love can heal even the deepest scars …

After seven years with no clue as to the whereabouts of Ann Ballard’s missing husband, nearly everyone presumes him dead. Now forty-something, Ann is ready for her stagnant life to flow again. Then one day, a dark-haired younger man from her past shows up on her doorstep offering a river of hope in place of tears.

Former neighbor Mark Roth has secretly loved Ann for years. A respected attorney, he’s returned home to help Ann face down disapproving family members and the legal maneuvering of her likely deceased husband’s family—while quietly winning her heart.

When the hidden truth of Ann’s situation turns their lives on end and another tragedy strikes, the two must come to terms with family, faith and the depths to which true love can run.
A Distant Melody by Sarah Sundin ~ Never pretty enough to please her gorgeous mother, Allie will do anything to gain her approval--even marry a man she doesn't love. Lt. Walter Novak--fearless in the cockpit but hopeless with women--takes his last furlough at home in California before being shipped overseas. Walt and Allie meet at a wedding and their love of music draws them together, prompting them to begin a correspondence that will change their lives. As letters fly between Walt's muddy bomber base in England and Allie's mansion in an orange grove, their friendship binds them together. But can they untangle the secrets, commitments, and expectations that keep them apart? A Distant Melody is the first book in the WINGS OF GLORY series, which follows the three Novak brothers, B-17 bomber pilots with the US Eighth Air Force stationed in England during World War II.
Winners will be announced on Saturday, 05/01/10.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Los Angeles, California
Monday, June 22, 1942

One whole delicious week together. Allie Miller clung to her best friend’s promise and to the train ticket that would deliver it.

Allie followed an inlaid marble pathway through Union Station and breathed in the glamour of travel and the adventure of her first trip north. Anticipation trilled a song in her heart, but the tune felt thin, a single line of melody with no harmony to make it resonate.

She glanced at her boyfriend, who walked beside her. “I’m sorry you can’t come.”

Baxter shrugged, gazed at a knot of soldiers they passed, and pulled the cigarette from his mouth. “The war didn’t stop just because Betty Jamison decided to get married.”

Allie shrank back from the discordant note. Her bridesmaid duty might seem trivial, but she honored it as much as J. Baxter Hicks did his duties as business manager.

They entered the waiting room, which blended Spanish Colonialism and modern streamlining. A wood-beamed ceiling peaked overhead, and iron chandeliers illuminated hundreds of men in Navy white and blue or Army khaki and olive drab.
None of the men cast Allie a second glance. Yet when Mother rose partway from her seat and beckoned with a gloved hand, she attracted dozens of stares with her blonde beauty.

Father gave Allie his seat. “Your ticket? Is it someplace safe?”

“In my handbag.” She smiled at his protectiveness and settled into the deep leather chair. “And yes, Mother, I asked the porter to be careful with my luggage.”

“Good. Oh, the thought of anything happening to that dress.” She clucked her tongue. “Such a shame, this silk shortage, but you did a lovely job with my old ball gown. Why, you almost look pretty in that dress.”

Allie stiffened but said, “Thank you.” Mother meant well, and Allie could hardly expect a compliment. Nevertheless, sadness swelled in her chest. No—self-pity was nothing but pride in disguise, and she refused to indulge.

“So, Stan, any word on that parts shipment?” Baxter and Father strolled away to lean against the wall. The men could pass for father and son with their brown hair and blue eyes, well-tailored suits, and love for Miller Ball Bearings.

Mother picked a piece of lint from the sleeve of Allie’s tan linen suit. “You’ve only been home one month since graduation, and off you go, gallivanting across the state.”

Allie clutched her purse containing the ticket, purchased with the labor of overcoming Mother’s objections. “It’s only one week, and then I’ll be home to stay.”

“Not for long.” Mother directed her large green eyes—the only good trait Allie inherited—toward Baxter. “You’ve been dating almost five years. He’ll propose soon.”

Baxter stood between towering windows, a dark silhouette framed by shafts of light slanting down through the haze of cigarette smoke.

Sourness shriveled Allie’s mouth, her throat, her stomach. Did all women feel queasy at the thought of proposals? “Time for the arranged marriage.”


Allie snapped her attention back to her mother. “That’s not what I meant to . . . I meant—”

“Good heavens. You don’t think this is arranged, do you?” she asked in a hushed voice. “Yes, Baxter’s the only man your father would ever pass his company down to, but your welfare is our highest consideration, and—”

“I know. I know.” Tension squeezed Allie’s voice up half an octave, and she tried to smile away her mother’s worries. “I know Baxter’s a gift.”

Mother’s expression hinted at the approval that eluded Allie. “Isn’t he? He’s a fine young man and he’ll make you so happy.”

Happy? Baxter Hicks would never fulfill her childhood dreams of love, but he could give her a family, Lord willing, which would be enough to satisfy. Besides, this marriage was best for her parents, for Baxter, and for Allie herself. A dream
made a worthy sacrifice. So why did her heart strain for the missing notes?

Lt. Walter Novak leaned back against the wall at Union Station, one foot propped on his duffel. The coolness of the wall seeped through the wool of his uniform jacket. Felt good. Almost as good as the mattress the night before at the home of Frank Kilpatrick, his best friend in the 306th Bombardment Group. His last furlough—ten good nights’ sleep, thirty good meals, then back to base and off to combat. Finally
he would get to use his God-given talents as a pilot and do something worthwhile.

Walt peered inside his lunch bag. Eileen was awfully nice to make him a chicken salad sandwich. After all, she had her husband home for the first time in months, three whooping little boys, and a belly swollen with another Kilpatrick.

Walt pulled out the best part of the meal—an orange from the Kilpatricks’ tree—large and glossy and chockful of sugar. He planted a kiss on the skin, as nubby-smooth as the leather of his flight jacket. “Hello, sweetheart.” To get this prize, he’d used a ladder to bypass dozens of lesser oranges in easy reach. Frank called him pigheaded.

Walt grinned at the memory. “Not pigheaded. Persistent.” After a year of Army food, he longed for fresh fruit. As boys, he and his two older brothers would sprawl on the grass and eat nectarines until Mom pestered them to save some for jam, and they’d sneak plums just before they were ripe and claim the birds must have nabbed them.

A voice on the loudspeaker mumbled something about the Daylight. Walt plopped the orange in the bag, slung his duffel over his shoulder, and worked his way through the
lobby as big as a hangar and swarming with servicemen. At his platform, a billow of steam evaporated to reveal the San Joaquin Daylight’s black paint with red and orange stripes. Nope, the train wasn’t ready for boarding yet.

Walt reined in his excitement, checked in his duffel, and jammed his service cap down over the dumb curl that always flopped onto his forehead. Then he wandered back inside to a newsstand to study the magazines. If he bought Time, he’d still have enough money for tipping the porters and for a couple of Cokes on the trip.

A pretty blonde in a blue dress stood in line at the newsstand. Her gaze fixed on the silver wings on Walt’s chest and the gold second lieutenant’s bars on his shoulders, and a smile dimpled the corner of her mouth.

Walt’s throat constricted. Every limb froze in place. He couldn’t have spoken even if he’d had something to say, which he didn’t. That was why he was stuck kissing oranges. Frank Kilpatrick, who could make friends with a doorknob, didn’t understand, but for Walt, women came in two varieties—those who were taken and those who weren’t. And those who weren’t taken scared him more than a stalled engine
on takeoff.

The young woman’s gaze drifted to Walt’s face. One nostril flicked up, and she looked away. He knew what she’d seen—the chipmunk cheeks and the Novak nose like an upside-down kite. Yep, unattached women were different. They hunted, scrutinized, judged, and he never measured up.

Allie stepped outside. Steam swirled about, heavy with the smell of burnt oil, and the train chuffed out a beat that quickened her internal melody.

“All aboard!”

Allie turned to her parents. “Thank you for this trip. I can’t tell you how much this means—”

“We know,” Father said with a warm smile. “You’d better go if you want a seat. Now, you’re sure the Jamisons will meet you in Tracy for that train transfer?”

“Yes, and I have Betty’s number and the information on the transfer just in case.”

Mother adjusted the jeweled pin on Allie’s lapel. “Remember everything we told you—keep your baggage claim check safe, keep your belongings close, and watch out for servicemen. A uniform alone doesn’t make a gentleman.”

Father chuckled. “Mary, you’ll give Baxter nightmares about soldiers stealing his girl.”

“Never have to worry about that,” Baxter said.

Allie’s tune dropped into a minor key. If only his trust lay in her faithfulness rather than her unattractiveness.

Father engulfed her in a hug. “I’ll sure miss you, sweetheart, but have a wonderful time.”

In the arms of her lifelong defender, Allie felt her heart rise. Then she turned to Baxter. Surely, he’d be moved by the romance of the train station, the departure, and the couples in sweet embrace.

Baxter bounced a kiss off her cheek. “Go along now. Have fun.”

Her heart slumped down into its usual location. Just once to have a man look at her as if she were lovely and special. Just once.

Allie joined the crowd filing onto the train. At the top of the steps, she turned to wave but couldn’t see over the Marine behind her. She stepped into the car, coughed at the dense cigarette smoke, and made her way down the aisle, avoiding open seats next to soldiers. The train filled quickly.

“Excuse me, miss. Would you like to join us?” A dark-haired woman indicated the seat facing her, already occupied by two small children. The woman held a baby and sat
beside an older boy. “If you don’t mind, that is. You’d be a bit cramped, and—”

“That would be lovely. Thank you.” Allie settled into the seat of muted red cloth edged with darker red leather.

“I’m tree.” The little girl to her right held up four plump fingers.

“Oh, what a big girl you are.”

“Humph.” The boy next to her thumped his foot against the wall of the train. “She can’t even read. I can.”

“Barely,” said the older boy across from Allie.

“That’s enough, children,” their mother said. “Don’t bother this nice young lady.”

“They’re no bother at all.” Allie noticed the woman’s ill-fitting red suit and felt self-conscious of her own elegant outfit. “And . . . and I could help with the children if you’d like.”

“I’d sure appreciate it.” She poked a bottle into the baby’s mouth. “So, where are you going?”

“I’m visiting my best friend in Antioch, up on the Sacramento River Delta. I can’t wait to see her again. Betty was my roommate at Scripps College over in Claremont. She’s getting married, and I’m in the wedding.” Allie cringed at her babbling. Why did she always do that when she was nervous?

“How nice. That’ll be fun for you.” She nudged the boy to her right. “Donnie, pick up your sister’s doll, would you? Lonnie, stop that thumping.”

Allie smiled. This mother didn’t seem to need any assistance. Then her smile collapsed. A lady stood in the aisle of the packed train, and none of the servicemen offered her a seat. Perhaps they would if she were young and pretty, or a frail
grandmother. But she was heavy, middle-aged, and colored.

“Ma’am?” A man stood and motioned to his seat, a man in olive drab with an officer’s cap over black hair.

The lady gave him a big smile, sat down, and grasped his arm. “God bless you. I pray for all you boys in uniform, ask the Almighty to keep you safe. What’s your name, son?”

“Walter, ma’am, and thank you. I’d rather have prayers than a seat any day.” He tipped his cap and stepped forward, closer to Allie, with a smile on his full face.

A uniform might not make a gentleman, but kindness and good manners did. Allie savored this deep new note and the rich chord it produced.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Lisa Lickel and her husband live in a one hundred and fifty-year-old Great Lakes ship captain’s house filled with books and dragons. She writes contemporary stories of love and intrigue, as well as writes and performs radio theater. A history buff, she works with local historical societies on preservation and programs.

Hi, Lisa! Welcome to The Borrowed Book. When did you decide to be a writer?

“Being” a writer was probably always part of me. I grew up with a father who loved to tell stories. Both of my parents were teachers and education was always stressed. When I took an on-line course through Christian Writer’s Guild mostly for fun in 2002-2003, I started selling articles before I graduated, then I tried a novel for the annual contest.

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

I’ll let you know. :-)
That’s a really big question. Writing by committee is safe and comfortable for most new writers. I got my first contract within three years of starting to market my work. That was too soon. I was involved in critique groups when I didn’t yet know how to listen and implement suggestions. I had agents who encouraged me in a particular direction that really wasn’t me. Even after I sold my second book, there was a two-year hiatus before I sold another novel. A couple of multi-published authors let me critique with them for a truly confidence-building experience. During that time I realized that, although I still count on my reading and writing partners, I’m not too bad at this story weaving thing after all.

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

Hard-hitting questions. Um, don’t hate me, but I’m kind of on the manic side. “Feel like it” doesn’t necessarily mean I’m not disciplined. I always exceed deadlines. I don’t have writer’s block. In six years I’ve written sixteen and a half novels, and that includes last year when I didn’t complete any. I’ve sold several magazine articles, including to Writer’s Digest, devotionals, and several radio theater scripts, had a regular column in my community newspaper and did features for the nearest larger-market newspaper, and edited three books on local history. Writing also involves a lot more work than simply putting words on paper. No, I don’t write every day, but I am almost always thinking about things, marketing and networking, interviewing other writers and doing book reviews, writing a monthly column for Favorite PASTimes, savoring ideas and doing research.

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 visit with friends and family, watch movies, read, sew, travel, visit museums, mom’s annual camping trip with Kay, weed and take care of my house. I like to quilt, but I don’t sew as much as I used to. I’m trying to relax the multi-tasking thing.

What is your favorite novel and what made it special?
Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. Hands-down best fiction in America in the twentieth century. Any book that can make me feel like a twelve-year-old boy realizing for the first time that there’s a huge life out there, and like it, is a wonder. Ray Bradbury doesn’t translate well to the screen because of the language he uses, and it’s not a shame—it’s just that a thousand of his words creates a marvelous picture and it doesn’t work in reverse.

I love that story! I thought I was the only one. LOL! Seriously, how do you think reading the work of others helps you as a writer?

Osmosis on one level can’t be disputed. My mother is a librarian and always had a book in hand; still does. I read constantly while growing up. But once I learned the technique of current trends in writing, I was pretty much ruined for reading for pleasure. There are trends in style, rules, perspective, point of view, narrative, subject matter. Every generation is different. Since I’m an extremely eclectic reader across genre and century, one era’s classic is another’s doldrums. I can pick out things from other writers that “aren’t allowed” by markets I pitch to, and that frustrates me. But at least I can analyze how those “rules” were broken and whether it worked for that author or not, and how much it matters to the reader.

Tell us a little about your latest release:

Meander Scar is a story about a woman whose husband disappeared on a business trip. Ann’s mother-in-law fought her to keep his case open. Years of living in limbo pass, and when a new young man enters her life and offers to help, she gets up the gumption to stop living in someone else’s shadow and move on. She’s a little shocked to learn that Mark, who used to live next door, is in love with her. Can she love him back? At the point when they need to decide whether they can defy family and society, Ann finds out what happened to her husband. Meander Scar is the story of what makes “family”; why and when we stick together and how far we’re willing to go to defend each other.

Where did you get your inspiration for Meander Scar?

Forgive this Dave Barry moment, but I always thought meander scar would make a good name for a book. I love the idea of comparing relationships to nature. A meander is the bend a river takes when it hits a hard place. It curves around on itself until it meets up with the main course and runs straight again. The meander then becomes a small lake, eventually drying up but leaving a scar. The inspiration for telling this story came from putting together several ponderings: Why does society accept older men and younger women in relationships much more easily than older women and younger men? What happens to all those people who disappear every year?

Which character is most like you?

Okay, don’t tell my husband, but Ann is a lot like me. You have to understand that this was my fifteenth novel and I was ready to write from my gut. What would I be like if I suddenly found myself without a husband? At my age? Building a nearly perfect fantasy man was a lot fun, but it also made me appreciate not being alone.

Who is your favorite character and why?

Well, I’m not about to pick out a favorite child…but I had fun with Ann’s parents and her aunt. Aunt Elle is the kind of person who gets away with wearing whatever she wants and keeps the family secrets. She’s highly regarded, reliable, and strong. I’d like to be more like her.

Did you know how Meander Scar would turn out? Were you surprised by any of the plot twists or characters?
While I’m not saying I had writer’s block, I did have some struggles with the ultimate resolution. It wasn’t until my friend Deidre, who was also one of my readers and confidantes during the writing, said we need to tell people that Christian men don’t leave their wives. At that point I knew for sure what Mark had to do. Meander Scar had the most convoluted journey of any of my work so far. The final result is an extreme culling of my original idea, my early drafts which I wrote with a lawyer friend, a second draft, and even my original final story. What my first agent thought was a selling point was nixed by the publisher. Things always surprise me when I’m writing; the biggest one in Meander was Mark’s reaction to some of the hard places his life hit.

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

I hope readers won’t be sorry to have spent the money and enjoyed this break from life immensely. I hope they identify with some of the issues that led to how the characters reacted to each other. I hope they think about what they would do if ever faced with a similar situation.

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

Marketing is not my favorite thing! I reached out with great fear and trembling for endorsements and was delighted to receive some positive and exciting comments. I’m seeking out the review and interview route, so thank you, Lisa my fellow cozy mystery writer, for this opportunity. (Lisa: You're very welcome! :-))
I’ve gotten more involved with networking, even trying Facebook. The best thing is getting some great, and surprising, reviews. That helps spur word of mouth.

Tell us what new projects you’re working on.

I’m working on the last two books of the cozy mystery series and trying to find a buyer. A new project I’ll get underway soon is about a former army medic who saves a woman trying to commit passive suicide. She’s not happy and makes sure he knows it; what she doesn’t know is that she ruined her husband’s plan to kill her.

Do you have any parting words of advice?
You can never practice too much. Listen a lot and don’t be afraid to try different things. Network all you can. Press the send button!
Lisa is giving away a special ELECTRONIC version of her book, Meander Scar. Be sure to stop by The Borrowed Book on Friday for your chance to win!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dr. Mitchell Kruse is an author, speaker, and the driving force behind The Restoration Road, a ministry movement that equips believers to live authentically where culture connects with Christ. Kruse is best known for his contribution to the auction arena, especially in the area of collector cars and real estate. For seventeen years, Kruse was owner, CEO, and auctioneer of Kruse International, the world’s largest collector car sales organization.

The art of auctioning has been passed down through three generations of the Kruse family, but as Kruse followed in his father’s footsteps, he discovered that success is a fragile thing that often comes at a high price. Though Kruse had been raised in a Christian family, he had vacillated between legalism and relative lawlessness. Facing the constant pressure of his life in the fast lane and the real possibility of losing everything he had labored to build, Kruse finally reached a turning point and surrendered control of his life to God. This move radically transformed both Kruse and his business over the next several years.

He sold his company to pursue his calling to communicate God’s restoration through grace and wisdom evidenced in leadership. Kruse earned his Master of Arts and Doctor of Religious Studies degrees with high distinction from Trinity Theological Seminary. He volunteered as teaching pastor at Blackhawk Ministries, a church of two thousand members.

Mitch Kruse Interviews Tony Dungy about Restoration:

Mitch Kruse sat down with Super Bowl winning Coach Tony Dungy at an annual Fellowship of Christian Athletes banquet in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Monday, March 29. Coach Dungy answered questions about his need for restoration, his self-restoration attempts, and his full surrender to Christ, his Restorer, including how God has used him to bring restoration to others.

The video of this interview as well as other interviews and discussions about the book can be viewed at

Q: The book includes many stories from your own restoration process. Tell us about your life before you took those first steps down restoration road. What was the turning point for you, the moment when you realized it was time to surrender your life to this process?

A: My family had set the bar extremely high in terms of achievement. Both my father and my grandfather were famous auctioneers, and I was determined to follow in their footsteps. So I became the world’s youngest Realtor and licensed auctioneer as a senior in high school. Our world-renowned family business specializing in classic cars and other high-end auctions had suffered a devastating blow, and we were all but ruined. I made it my mission to rebuild the business, restore the family name, and then to become a billionaire by the time I turned 40. I wanted to prove to the world that a Christian could do it. But my years of foolishness with money, of putting my business before my family and faith, led to me believing I was the master of my own fate. I realized how fragile and empty the world I’d created for myself really was. I didn’t want to be the one in control of my destiny. That was the moment I surrendered my broken life to the Restorer’s plan.

Q: What is the key that unlocks the gate leading to restoration road?

A: In a word, surrender. God does not force His restoration on His children. His passion is to make old, damaged things new again. This can only happen when the old is surrendered. Like a classic car that needs restoration, each one of us must surrender our old basket case of a life to the Restorer. He begins to disassemble and renovate the components of our lives, piece by piece, whether they are un-restored or self-restored. Finally, the new is surrendered again. As the restoration process unfolds, we learn that we are designed to bring authentic restoration to others. We surrender the new for this purpose and continue to surrender any old parts that corrode again over time.

Q: Just as the physical heart has four chambers, you believe the spiritual heart is comprised of four chambers and each of us also carries four God-given desires that shape our decisions and our values. Tell us more about this.

A: God created our spiritual hearts with four chambers that we can remember in the acronym WISE (Will, Intellect, Spirit, and Emotions). The Will is the chamber of our choices. The Intellect is the chamber of our thoughts. The Spirit is the lead chamber of our prayers. The Emotions represent the chamber of our feelings. Each of these chambers beat for the satisfaction of our four primary desires. We see them in the very first book of the Bible. That’s how foundational they are to our lives. Every choice, thought, and feeling, every investment of time, talent, and treasure is an attempt to satisfy these desires.
The first primary God-given desire is significance, which comes from being created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). The second desire is contentment from being blessed by God to be fruitful, multiply, and subdue (to bring contentment to) the earth (Genesis 1:28). The third desire is control from being empowered by God to rule over the earth (Genesis 1:28). The fourth desire is security from being provided with every seed bearing plant and fruit bearing tree (Genesis 1:29-30). Notice that each desire is from our being, or our identity in the Designer, who is also our Restorer. These desires flow vertically from the heart of God into each one of our spiritual hearts, and they flow horizontally into our relationships with others (Genesis 2:18).

These desires are all good—they’re given by God himself, after all. Our attempts to satisfy them apart from God will lead to a series of foolish and damaging choices.

Restoration Road by Mitch Kruse with Derek Williams
Credo Communications/March 2010
ISBN: 978-1-935391-31-9/316 pages/hardcover/$24.99

Become a fan of Mitch Kruse on Facebook. Follow Mitch on Twitter

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sarah Sundin’s first novel, A Distant Melody, was released in March 2010 by Revell. She lives in northern California with her husband and three children. When she isn’t ferrying kids to soccer and karate, she works on-call as a hospital pharmacist and teaches Sunday school and women’s Bible studies.

When did you decide to be a writer?

January 6, 2000. How’s that for exact? Although I always read voraciously, I didn’t consider a writing career. Instead I chose a practical career in pharmacy which allowed me to work on-call and stay home with our three children. Then in 2000, I had a dream with such intriguing characters that I felt compelled to write their story.

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

Over eight years. A Distant Melody is actually the third complete novel I wrote. The first two novels will never be published, nor should they, but they got me started.

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?

Be teachable and learn as much as you can about the craft of writing and the publishing process. Join a writers’ group, attend conferences, read books on writing, and join American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW).

Don’t submit to agents and editors until you’re ready. That means a complete manuscript, positive feedback from experienced writers, and enough knowledge of the publishing industry to know how to submit properly. You want your first impression to be stellar.

Lastly, when you’re ready, submit and keep submitting. Keep polishing your craft, and keep praying for the Lord’s guidance.

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

I didn’t realize how much juggling I would do with different projects. Currently I’m doing publicity for A Distant Melody, doing edits with Revell on Book 2, A Memory Between Us, polishing Book 3 before I turn it in, and preparing a proposal for another series.

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

Most people think I’m disciplined, but it’s more that I love writing so much it takes discipline for me to do the other things in my life. However, right now I’m restructuring my time to deal with the new business activities I need to manage.

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

Can you hear me laughing? My kids are in high school and middle school, so I live in my car—go, go, go. Writing is what helps me relax when I step away from my other responsibilities.

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

It may be clichĂ©, but all of Jane Austen’s novels—Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice are my favorites. Austen has it all—laugh-out-loud humor, snappy dialogue, well-drawn characters, and endings that make you feel all warm and gooey inside. Another thing I love about Austen is that the rogues turn out to be—well, rogues, while the heroes are quiet men of integrity. Most romances hold up the “bad boy” as hero, and I don’t think that’s healthy. Too many women follow that example and choose charm over character—and regret it.

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

In so many ways. Of course I observe the mechanics of how the author constructs sentences and scenes, how they evoke emotion, etc. More importantly, a good novel gets my imagination humming.

Tell us a little about your latest release:

In A Distant Melody, Lt. Walter Novak flies a B-17 bomber in battles over Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II, while Allie Miller serves in the Red Cross against the wishes of her wealthy parents and controlling fiancé in California. Walt and Allie meet at a wedding and begin a correspondence. As letters fly between Walt's muddy bomber base in England and Allie's mansion in an orange grove, their friendship binds them together. But can they untangle the secrets, commitments, and expectations that keep them apart?

Where did you get your inspiration for A Distant Melody?

It came out of a “what if” question—what if a man and woman met at an event, truly clicked, and parted before exchanging contact info? Wouldn’t it be romantic if he went through great effort to track her down? It wouldn’t work in a contemporary setting—he’d “Google” her—but it made a sweet premise for a historical. My husband and I watched a History Channel special on the US Eighth Air Force based in England which flew over Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II, and I had my link. My great-uncle was a B-17 bomber pilot with the Eighth, so I had access to family stories plus his personal letters. My research fascinated me so much, the story expanded to become a trilogy, with each book focusing on one of three brothers.

Which character is most like you?

That’s hard to say. Any time one of my characters starts to sound too much like me I know it’s time for me to back up and get out of the way.

Who is your favorite character and why?

I adore Walt and Allie, my hero and heroine, but my favorite has to be Cressie Watts. I didn’t plan for her—she just showed up. Allie, a wealthy, educated, well-mannered young woman, goes out for a walk after a horrendous day and enters a rundown church. She needs to get away from her parents’ superficial congregation, so I thought she might talk to the pastor. Instead, Allie and I both find—to my surprise—this feisty older woman who ropes Allie into helping her air out the pew cushions. She’s Allie’s opposite in every way—exactly the mentor Allie needs at this point. I adore her brusque ways, her deep faith, and her humor. And there’s a funny story regarding her name too.

Did you know how A Distant Melody would turn out? Were you surprised by any of the plot twists or characters?

I knew how it would turn out. I do lots of outlining before I start. However, I was surprised by side characters—like Cressie—and incidents in the story.

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

I don’t write with a lesson in mind, but I do hope my readers learn from my characters’ mistakes. I hope they learn the importance of honesty and obeying the Lord no matter the cost, and I hope young women will see that they don’t have to be beautiful to find true love.

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

My book’s been on the market for less than two months, so I have no idea if my promotion is working. What I’ve done that seems effective:

a) Blog interviews like this one. Each interview exposes your book to people outside your sphere of influence.

b) My publisher gave me book copies for “influencers.” These people have been wonderful. They’re posting reviews, chatting it up on Facebook, recommending it to their book clubs and libraries, and my friend Marci Seither made a vintage 1940s apron with my book cover on the pocket and donated it to a fabric store. The store owner displayed the apron in the store window and recommended the book to her book club!

c) Facebook has been a great way to connect with people—other writers, old friends, and new readers.

d) Bookmarks generously distributed. I carry them everywhere. Whenever someone asks about my book, I give them a bookmark. Also my friends and influencers hand them out.

Tell us what new projects you’re working on.

A Distant Melody is the first book in the Wings of Glory series, which follows three brothers who fly B-17 bombers with the U.S. Eighth Air Force during World War II. The second book, A Memory Between Us, releases in September 2010, and the third book releases August 2011. I’m preparing a proposal for another World War II series.

Do you have any parting words of advice?

If God has given you a dream, have the courage to do what He asks you to do. Persevere, learn, seek support, and keep praying.
To learn more about Sarah and her work, find her at:
Want more? Stop by The Borrowed Book on Thursday for an excerpt from A Distant Melody by Sarah Sundin.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Max is a wiener dog. Though his spirit is big, he’s had to come to terms with the fact that he is a fifty-pound dog trapped in a ten-pound dog’s body. That was made very evident on one of our daily walks.

We live on a country road far from traffic. We do, however, have Barney. Barney is a German Shepherd of considerable size. Even I think so. And when Barney barks, people listen! Normally, Barney is a very friendly dog, but on this occasion, he took our walking past his turf as a personal insult. Terrified, Max scrambled over to me and began jumping on my leg, begging me to pick him up.

“You’re fine,” I repeated over and over, but Max would not be mollified. Not until I held him in my arms, snug against my body, did he finally stop shaking. What Max didn’t realize is that I had no intention of letting that big ole German Shepherd harm him. I was ready to protect him, and watched Barney carefully to make sure he didn’t come near. And then I realized how much like Max the children of God are.

We walk alongside God, content with the way things are, enjoying the view, until something big and scary happens, and then all our faith flies out the window. "God help me! Where are you? Why didn’t you protect me?" we cry. When all along, God stood ready, one eye upon the storm, and one eye upon His child. I can almost hear Him…

“Didn’t you know? I was beside you all along! I had no intention of letting anything harm you, beloved, only that which will strengthen you, and build you up.”

That is, after all, the nature of our God.

Jeremiah 31:9-11 (New International Version)

9 They will come with weeping; they will pray as I bring them back. I will lead them beside streams of water on a level path where they will not stumble, because I am Israel's father, and Ephraim is my firstborn son. 10 "Hear the word of the LORD, O nations; proclaim it in distant coastlands:'He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over his flock like a shepherd.' 11 For the LORD will ransom Jacob and redeem them from the hand of those stronger than they.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

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

Terri Thompson – Love Lessons by Margaret Daley

Cindy W. – The Marriage Masquerade by Erica Vetsch

Winners of this week's books, please use the button in the upper right side of this page to 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 Margaret Daley and Erica Vetsch for your generosity in providing books!

Friday, April 23, 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 two great books:
Love Lessons by Margaret Daley ~ Homeschooling his daughter is new to devoted single father Ian Ferguson. To ensure his child gets a good education, the busy CPA hires a temporary tutor. Twenty-three-year-old college student Alexa Michaels is too young—and too pretty—to be right for the job. Yet his daughter is coming out of her shell and learning. Still, Ian is traditional, and sweet Alexa—who graduated from the school of hard knocks—is challenging some of his old-school ways. Can this dad learn some valuable lessons about love, family and faith from the least likely teacher?

The Marriage Masquerade by Erica Vetsch ~ Captain Noah Kennebrae can no longer deal with the shame and guilt from the wreck of his ship. So he changes his name and takes a job as assistant lighthouse keeper on Sutton Island, heedless of the marriage contract his grandfather has arranged for him. Desperate to escape the calculating grasp of her father, Anastasia Michaels leaves home to take the unlikely job of housekeeper on a remote island. Surely her father would never think to look for her there. But neither Nick nor Annie considered that God's hand might be at work in their lives.

Winners will be announced Saturday, 04/24/10.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

"Don't die on me."

Alexa Michaels patted the dashboard of her twelve-year-old car as it chugged toward its destination, only a half a block away.

At least the car had gotten her to the street where she needed to go, and she was thirty minutes early to her interview for the tutoring position. The vehicle bellowed a plume of smoke from its tailpipe, the wind whisking it away as it sputtered past another sizable dwelling. Finally, her car died two houses away from her objective, a single-story Mediterranean home on an acre.

She pushed the car door open. Its creaking sound protested the action. With a sigh, she retrieved her large purse from the floor and stood. A brisk breeze caught her long, multicolored skirt and whipped it about her legs. Holding it down while clutching her bag, she hurried toward the house.

Halfway up the sidewalk to the front entrance, a plastic liter bottle fell from the sky and splattered two feet from her, clear liquid splashing and wetting the bottom of her skirt.

What in the world!

Stunned, she stopped, her purse slipping from her fingers to plop on the concrete next to her, the bag's contents pouring all over the ground. She stooped to scoop up her items—lipstick, cell, brush, pen…

A man charged around the side of the house and hurried toward her. Jumping up, she took a step back, the few personal objects in her hand landing in the pile on the ground.

Maybe I've got the wrong place. Maybe I should leave…

Then she saw a young girl appear, not far behind the man, and relaxed, taking stock of the pair as they approached. Tall, lean, the male's long-legged stride ate up the distance between them quickly. His tanned features were set in a look of concern, but as his gaze roamed down her length, his eyes widened briefly before he managed to school his expression into a neutral one.

He came to a halt, pushing his wire-rimmed glasses up his nose, framing beautiful Nordic blue eyes with long black eyelashes. "Are you all right? The rocket didn't hit you, did it?"

With her gaze held captive by his, the questions barely registered on her mind.

"Were you hit?" the man asked again.

She mentally shook herself out of the daze and focused on what he'd said. "No. It just splashed my skirt." She peered at the smashed liter bottle. "What was in it?"

"Only water."

The girl who looked about ten years old, with copper-colored hair pulled back in a ponytail, skidded to a stop next to the man. "I can't believe it went over the house, Dad. That was awesome!" She threw her arms around her father, not seeming to notice Alexa.

Returning the hug, he peered down at his daughter, grinning. "Yeah, definitely the best one yet. You did good."

At that moment a gust of wind sent Alexa's skirt dancing about her legs and played with her long mane, whipping it across her face. She reached down, grabbing up as much of the rayon fabric as she could while trying to keep her hair out of her eyes.

Hunched over, Alexa looked up through her curly strands at the man whose own short, black hair stayed in perfect place, complementing the impeccable clothes he wore, tan slacks, navy blue long-sleeved shirt and a jacket. "I'm here for the interview."

"You're early." He turned his grin on her and stuck out his hand. "You must be Alexa Michaels. I'm Ian Ferguson and this one—" he nodded toward the child "—is my daughter, Jana."

His smile lit his whole face and reached deep into his eyes. It set her heart to beating fast until she noticed the way Jana had stepped a little behind her father, gripping him tighter. Was the girl really that uncomfortable around strangers?

Straightening and hoping her skirt stayed down, Alexa fit her hand in his and shook it. The touch of his fingers around hers made her pulse speed up, but she quickly regained control. Being attracted to a potential employer wasn't in her plans. She needed this job.

When he looked at her quizzically, she squashed her reaction to the man and returned his grin. "I wasn't sure if my car would make it. I came early in case I had to walk some." She returned her attention to the child. "It's nice to meet you, Jana."

The young girl smiled, but it didn't stay on her face long. However, her wary gaze remained on Alexa as though she wasn't quite sure what to make of the situation.

"You like to do experiments?" Alexa tried again to connect with the child.

Jana nodded. "Yes. They're fun. Like this one." She gestured toward the liter rocket.

"Great, I do, too."

"We were testing different ways to make a rocket go up," Ian explained. "We used water and compressed air." He winced. "It went too well. If we do that one again, we'll have to go out into the country. Again, I'm sorry about nearly hitting you with the bottle. Our first four attempts weren't nearly as successful." He scanned the street in front of his house, then his driveway. "Where is your car?"

"It died." Alexa gestured toward the neighbor's curb. "It's over there."

"Come inside. We'll talk while Jana cleans up the rocket experiment in the backyard, then we'll decide what to do about your dead car."

Alexa squatted to gather her purse contents and stuff them into her bag. A lingering tinge of heat still scored her cheeks. His gaze had flared slightly when it had landed on her beat-up vehicle in need of being painted, especially where the rust showed. Most people who saw her car wondered how it even ran. Sometimes she did, too.

Before she could finish, Ian knelt next to her, grabbed her apple and brush on the grass and gave them to her. "You have a lot in that purse." The last item on the ground by his feet was a romance paperback. He picked it up and studied the cover. "Interesting."

She wasn't going to blush anymore. She enjoyed reading a good love story. After she took the book from him, she dropped it into her purse with the rest of the returned items. "I like to be prepared for all situations. You never know when you'll be stuck in a line. I get a lot of my reading done while waiting."

After rising, he offered her his hand. She grasped it and stood, trying to ignore the strong feel of his fingers around hers and the tingling that zipped up her arm. His firm grasp conveyed a confident man. Their gazes connected for a moment, and a rush of warmth continued its path through her. She quickly tugged her hand to her side.

Pivoting, he started for his stucco house, glanced back when she didn't move and said, "Coming?"

Still stunned by that brief connection, she managed to murmur, "Oh, sorry. Yes." What in the world was wrong with her?

Shaking her hand as though that would rid her mind of the sensations of the brief contact, she hurriedly caught up and walked beside him toward the double glass doors and the front porch. Ian Ferguson walked in and waved her through. She stepped into a spacious raised foyer. Through the back bank of windows, Alexa saw the small lake that several of the houses in the area abutted.

"Have a seat in the living room while I check on Jana." He headed across the sunken living room and mounted the couple of steps into a large kitchen.

As Alexa heard the murmur of low voices, she took a seat on the edge of a pristine white couch and put her oversize purse on the floor next to her feet. Her fingers grazed across the soft leather of the sofa. Very expensive, if the pliant feel meant anything.

The formal, tidy room screamed a warning: no kids allowed. She hoped she hadn't tracked in any dirt. She checked the path she'd taken and breathed a sigh of relief at the clean white area rug where she'd treaded.

The sound of voices had stopped. When she swung her gaze toward the kitchen, it fell upon Ian Ferguson standing in the doorway, studying her. A gasp escaped her lips, and as much as she wished she didn't, a blush seared her cheeks—again.

"Sorry if I surprised you." He folded his long length onto a black leather chair across from her and laid a folder in his lap. "Sometimes my daughter gets distracted and forgets to do what she's supposed to."

Don't all kids? Alexa kept that comment to herself. "Does she enjoy science?"

"One of her favorite subjects." He relaxed back. "What subject do you enjoy the most?"

"If I were smart, I'd say science, but it isn't. I do love anything to do with animals, though." She tried to loosen the tightness that gripped her, but she couldn't shake the sensation she was in a sterile environment of black and white that she needed to keep that way at all costs.

One thick, dark brow arched. "So what are your favorite subjects to teach?"

"English and history, though I have a gift for languages. I thought about being a secondary-school English teacher, but finally decided I love young kids too much so I chose elementary education. I'm starting my last year of college this semester. I can't take a full load of classes, but I hope to finish by May next year." Just a few years later than my peers.

"Your college adviser had glowing things to say about you. Dr. Baker is a friend. She said you're her top student."

"I've enjoyed her classes and was elated when she became my adviser." And friend. Nancy Baker had been responsible for her getting her last job as a nanny and for telling her about this job.

I want this to work out. Lord, I may need Your assistance here.

Copyright © 2000-2010 Harlequin Enterprises Limited.
All rights reserved.
Margaret is giving away a copy of her book Love Lessons. Be sure to stop by The Borrowed Book tomorrow for your chance to win!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Margaret Daley is an award winning, multi-published author in the romance genre. One of her romantic suspense books, Hearts on the Line, won the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Book of the Year Contest. Recently she has won the Holt Medallion, Golden Quill Contest, FHL’s Inspirational Readers’ Choice Contest, Winter Rose Contest, and the Barclay Gold Contest. She wrote for various secular publishers before the Lord led her to the Christian romance market. She currently writes inspirational romance and romantic suspense books for the Steeple Hill Love Inspired lines. She has sold sixty-six books to date.

Margaret is currently the Volunteer Officer for ACFW. She was one of the founding members of the first ACFW local chapter, WIN in Oklahoma. She served as vice-president for two years in WIN-ACFW and is still on its board as an advisor. She has taught numerous classes for online groups, ACFW and RWA chapters. She enjoys mentoring other authors.

Until she retired last year, she was a teacher of students with special needs for twenty-seven years and volunteered with Special Olympics as a coach. She currently is on the Outreach committee at her church, working on several projects in her community.

You can visit her web site at and read excerpts from her books and learn about the ones recently released and soon to be released.

When did you decide to be a writer?

About thirty years ago I decided to try writing a story. I’d always been a storyteller but I had to learn the craft of writing—still learning it.

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

Actually quite a few of my early books were written with no feedback from anyone but my editor. I began writing even before RWA (Romance Writers of America) was formed. I didn’t have a group of writer friends. There was no Internet to connect with other writers. It was pretty lonely back then.

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

I am a disciplined writer. I usually write almost every day—some days more than others.

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

I enjoy reading, going to the movies, going out to eat with friends, seeing my granddaughters.

What is your favorite novel and what made it special?

Amazonia by James Rollins because it was pure adventure and suspense—my favorite kind of story.

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

It’s nice to see how others put a story together. Besides, reading a good story is a form of entertainment for me.

Tell us a little about your latest release:

Love Lessons is an April Love Inspired.

Back cover blurb:

Homeschooling his daughter is new to devoted single father Ian Ferguson. To ensure his child gets a good education, the busy CPA hires a temporary tutor. Twenty-three-year-old college student Alexa Michaels is too young—and too pretty—to be right for the job. Yet his daughter is coming out of her shell and learning. Still, Ian is traditional, and sweet Alexa—who graduated from the school of hard knocks—is challenging some of his old-school ways. Can this dad learn some valuable lessons about love, family and faith from the least likely teacher?

Where did you get your inspiration for Love Lessons?

I wanted something that went along with the series it is part of: Helping Hands Homeschooling. Love Lessons is the first book in my series about homeschooling.

Which character is most like you?

Probably Ian Ferguson, the hero, because I am much more organized than the heroine, Alexa. Knowing what is going to happen is important to Ian. Alexa likes to go with the flow. That makes him crazy.

Who is your favorite character and why?

Alexa because I love her outlook on life. I’m trying to be more like that—not worrying about tomorrow.

Did you know how Love Lessons would turn out? Were you surprised by any of the plot twists or characters?

I’m always surprised by things that my characters do in the story. I’m more of a seat of the pants writer than one who has to write from a detailed outline. I love for my characters to take over and tell me what they should do next.

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

How important it is to forgive others. When we don’t, we are caught up in the past and can’t move on like we should.

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

You should have a good web site. That is relatively inexpensive and a good way for readers to find out about you and your books.

Tell us what new projects you’re working on.

I’m working on my first book in The Guardians, Inc. series for Love Inspired Suspense. This book is called Christmas Bodyguard and will be out next December. The Guardians, Inc. is a group of female bodyguards.

Do you have any parting words of advice?

Don’t give up on a dream.

Margaret is sharing an excerpt from her book Love Lessons tomorrow and giving away a copy on Friday. Be sure to stop by The Borrowed Book for your chance to win!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Author and speaker Mary DeMuth helps people turn their trials to triumph. Her books include Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God; Building the Christian Family You Never Had; Watching the Tree Limbs; Wishing on Dandelions; Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture and the first two books in the Defiance, Texas Trilogy: Daisy Chain and A Slow Burn.

National media regularly seek Mary’s candid ability to connect with their listeners. Her radio appearances include FamilyLife Today, Moody Midday Connection, Point of View and U.S.A. Radio Network and is frequently featured on Chuck Colson’s BreakPoint. She has published articles in In Touch, HomeLife, Writer’s Digest and The Writer.

Mary lives with her husband Patrick and their three children in Texas. Learn more about Mary at

Tell me a little bit about your background and your family.

You can read my testimony on my website ( I came from a difficult upbringing, but Jesus saw fit to find me at fifteen. He has utterly changed my life.

I’ve been married 18 years to my husband Patrick (who’s been told he looks like George Clooney on more than one occasion). Interesting side note: I’ve been told I look like Laura Dern, and we share the EXACT same birthday. Twins separated at birth? Possibly. If you’re reading this and you’re chums with Laura, could you probe a bit?

George (er, Patrick) and I have three kids: Sophie, Aidan and Julia. Sophie’s learning to drive—and what’s interesting is that I’m not worried about it. She’s a careful driver. My son Aidan is thirteen. He’s passionate about finding water for a small village in Ghana. We got to go on the trip of a lifetime to meet the village of Sankpem last summer. Our daughter Julia is ten and is deeply kindhearted, beautiful inside and out. We also have an overly needy (farting) dog and a fat & fuzzy (sometimes cranky) cat.

What do you like to do in your spare time? Hobbies?

I love to cook and garden and sew and decorate and take pictures. I’m really quite a homebody. I also keep in shape by training for small triathlons, emphasis on small.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

This may sound strange, but I wanted to be a doctor. But even then, the writer in me came out because I liked the cadence of my maiden name with the title doctor. Mary Walker, Medical Doctor.

What trials did you face as a child?

Childhood sexual abuse at five
Parents with addictions
Feelings of being unwanted
An unsafe home
Death of a parent
Suicidal thoughts
Three divorces

It’s hard to write all that out and not feel bad for little me. But even in the recounting, I’ve been able to see the thin places in my life, those snatches of moments where God came near. That’s the message and hope of Thin Places, being able to see the nearness of God amidst heartache.

How did you get involved in writing?

I’ve been writing since college when the bug hit me. I wrote my first short story about a missionary going to Russia (when it was firmly encased behind the iron curtain) and having to do all these clandestine things to share the gospel. I’m embarrassed to write this, but the piece started with these four words: Thump, thump, thump, thump (representing the protagonist’s heartbeat, of course).

I’ve been actively writing since 1992 when my daughter Sophie was born. I created a newsletter that helped moms manage their homes. I bought my first computer from the proceeds. I also designed and edited church newsletters, wrote homeschooling curriculum, and even wrote a script for an ultrasound training video. Soon after, short stories started flying out of me. When we moved from East Texas to Dallas for my husband to go to Dallas Seminary, I decided to get serious. I met my friend Sandra Glahn then, a professor at the seminary and a published writer. She shepherded me through the query-letter-writing process and has been an incredible cheerleader.

In 2002, I wrote my first novel. In 2003, I signed with an agent, then signed two nonfiction books. Since then, I’ve had five books published (those included), Daisy Chain being my sixth book. The first novel I wrote is yet to be published.

How do you find time to write?

I make time to write. I give myself word count goals every day. While my children are at school, I work full time. Lately I’ve been writing and promoting like a crazy woman, pulling 10-12 hour shifts. Even so, it’s a priority for me to have a sit-down dinner with my family every night. It helps that I love to cook.

What do you enjoy most about the writing process?

I love the initial flurry of words on the page where I’m uninhibited. I love fleshing out a story as it comes to me. I see my novels on the movie screen of my mind, which may account for the visual nature of my narratives.

What was the most difficult aspect of the writing process?

I am not in love with rejection.

I also don’t cherish rewriting. But it’s a necessary and important evil.

What compelled you to write Thin Places?

I felt sufficiently healed from my past, which had been a long, long journey. And in that healing, I knew I had the perspective I needed to be able to communicate my story with hope. In the past, I’d vomit my story of sexual abuse and neglect on any poor soul who’d listen, not with the intention to help her grow through her story, but to gain empathy.

But now I marvel at the path God’s brought me on, how gently He’s led me to this place of wholeness. From that abundance, I share my story. Why? Because I believe sharing the truth about our stories helps others see their own stories.

While I recorded the audio book for Thin Places, the producer asked me why I’d splay my life out this way.

“Because I don’t want folks to feel alone,” I told him.

“You’ve given a gift,” he said.

I sure hope so.

In this memoir you give readers a candid glimpse into your upbringing. Was it hard to share particular parts of your story?

In some ways, it was easy. I’ve shared my story over a decade now. What was hard was giving myself permission to say it all, to not hold back, to explore the emotions I experienced during the rapes, the drug parties, the feelings of loneliness.

Oddly, though, it was harder for me to share what I’m dealing with now as a result of my upbringing than the actual initial trauma. It’s hard to admit that I’m still so needy, so insecure. After reading the book aloud, I saw I still had areas of growth, particularly in being so hard on myself.

What fears have you battled as this book released?

Because this is such a personal book, I’ve worried about negative reviews. In some ways that’s good because it will force me to find my security and love from the One who made me, rather than the opinions of others. I’ve received some great endorsements, but also some harsh reviews. And those are the ones that knife me! Because the book’s about me!

I worry that I’ll be misunderstood. Or that telling the truth will hurt others. I’ve made a point to disguise nearly everyone and everything in the book, but of course the potential for hurt feelings is high.

I fear opposition by the father of lies. Since this is a truth-filled book, displaying authentic struggle, I have a feeling he won’t like it. I’m thankful for a specific, targeted prayer team around me to pray for protection regarding the release of this book. It’s humbling, actually, to see how God brought those pray-ers together.

What do you hope readers gain from reading your memoir?

I hope they see hope.

I hope they realize how profound and surprising and radical God’s redemption is.

I hope they’ll see the irresistibility of Jesus.

Some folks wait until grandparents and parents are deceased until they write a memoir, but you wrote yours with some still alive. Was that difficult?

Extremely. In many ways, agonizing. You can be assured that I prayed through every word. I’m thankful for my critique group who walked me through the writing and my stellar editor who helped shape the manuscript into a redemptive story. My goal was not to impugn or point the finger at what went wrong way back when, but to shout about God’s ability to transform a needy, incomplete girl.

It’s never easy to tell the truth, and I know my words may hurt some. But, thankfully, I’ve sought God’s heart in this and I can rest peacefully in knowing that.

Anne Lamott says, “Risk being unliked. Tell the truth as you understand it. If you’re a writer, you have a moral obligation to do this. And it is a revolutionary act—truth is always subversive.”

Thin Places is my answer to her quote.

What would you say to someone who wants to become a published author?

Here’s the analogy you need to memorize and internalize: Beginning the publishing journey is like wearing a sweatshirt and toting a sack lunch at the base of Mount Everest, thinking, Hmm, this should be a breeze!

In addition: know you are called. Know you have talent. Know you’re full of tenacity. All three things will help you succeed along the journey.

Another idea is hang out at The Writing Spa and its corresponding blog WannabePublished. I tackle nearly every question a new writer would have. I offer weekly free critiques and I have guest authors cameo there. I evaluate the saleabilty of a book idea. Hop on by at

What encouragement or cautions do you have for those wanting to write their story?

First, prayerfully consider if this is something you need to do for therapy rather than publication. It’s very exposing to write a memoir. And sometimes we mistake the compelling feeling we have with publication. God sometimes calls us to write unpublished words, to get everything out on the page for the sake of our own personal healing.

Many of you have read memoirs that are self-indulgent or a poor-me fest. You need to evaluate whether you’re at a good place of healing before you embark on writing your story for everyone to read.

Monday, April 19, 2010

ERICA VETSCH is married to Peter and keeps the company books for the family lumber business. A home-school mom to Heather and James, Erica loves history, romance, and storytelling. Her ideal vacation is taking her family to out-of-the-way history museums and chatting to curators about local history. She has a Bachelor’s degree from Calvary Bible College in Secondary Education: Social Studies. You can find her on the web at

When did you decide to be a writer?
I’ve written stories in my head for as long as I can remember. In that twilight time between awake and asleep, I’d spin tales and weave imaginary worlds. Then college, marriage, kids, and life happened. I still read voraciously, but the story-spinning was put on hold. But the desire didn’t die, and I began the journey of writing for publication in the summer of 2004.

How long did you write before you sold your first book?
Four years and several novels.

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?
1. Persevere. It’s an uphill climb with plenty of steep grades and drop offs.
2. Prioritize. If this is something you want, you’re going to have to make room for it in your schedule. You’ll have to not do some of the things you used to.
3. Write. You can’t sell an unwritten or half-finished book.
4. Don’t despise the process. Enjoy the journey, learn all you can, meet people. Sure, there will be some setbacks, rejections, low contest scores, harsh critiques, but it’s so much better and easier if you recognize it as part of the process and not the end.

Was there something about the experience of getting published that was a surprise to you?
There were several things.
1. Reader responses. Family, friends, strangers who email. So far, things have been mostly positive. People are happy for me, knowing how long it took to get to this point.
2. The unreal feeling of holding your book in your hands, seeing your name on the cover, realizing that it really did happen. I still get goose bumps.
3. Just how many people band together to get a book into print. Author, agent, editors, graphic arts, marketing, publicity. All with an interest in getting the story into the hands of the readers. The writing might be a somewhat solitary venture, but the publishing definitely isn’t.

Are you a disciplined writer or do you just write when you feel like it?
I’m fairly disciplined, though I wish I was even more so. There are days when it’s pretty hard slog, and others when the words flow more freely. I do something writing related every day, whether creating new words, editing, marketing, plotting, reading craft books, etc. With several books coming out in the next few months, I don’t have a lot of wiggle room to slack off.

What kind of activities do you like to do that help you relax and step away from your deadlines for a bit?
I enjoy walking with my daughter when the weather cooperates. I am addicted to Hidden Object games on my computer. And I love to read.

What is your favorite novel (not written by you) and what made it special?
To The Hilt by Dick Francis (who passed away on Valentine’s Day this year.) It’s tight, fast, fascinating. The main character is an artist, and the peek into his world and thought processes is enlightening. I enjoy all of Dick Francis’s work, but To The Hilt is my favorite.

How do you think reading the work of others helps you as a writer?
It would be difficult to overestimate the impact reading has on my writing. Vocabulary, characterization, discovery of techniques I’d like to try, pacing, humor. Reading skilled writers helps me hone my own craft.

Tell us a little about your latest release:
The Marriage Masquerade (Heartsong Feb. 2010) is set in 1906 on the shores of Lake Superior. An heiress and a ship captain embark on a collision course of secrets and revelations at Sutton Island Lighthouse.

From the back cover:

Noah just wants to start over.

Captain Noah Kennebrae can no longer deal with the shame and guilt from the wreck of his ship. So he changes his name and takes a job as assistant lighthouse keeper on Sutton Island, heedless of the marriage contract his grandfather has arranged for him. No woman in her right mind would want to marry him now, anyway.

Desperate to escape the calculating grasp of her father and his cronies, Anastasia Michaels leaves her home to take the unlikely job of housekeeper on a remote island. Knowing how terrified of water she is, surely her father would never think to look for her there.

But neither Nick nor Annie considered that God’s hand might be at work in their lives. When they each take things into their own hands, He must work a miracle to bring them back to His original plan.

Where did you get your inspiration for The Marriage Masquerade?
The idea for the setting of The Marriage Masquerade sprang from touring beautiful Split Rock Lighthouse on Lake Superior’s North Shore. The idea for the series came from touring the Great Lakes Maritime Museum in Duluth, Minnesota and learning about the Mataafa Blow, a severe storm that hit Superior in 1905. One shipping tycoon, three grandsons, three heiresses, three arranged marriages, three chances for heartache or love.

Which character is most like you?
This is a tough one. I tend to write characters I wish I was like, rather than characters like me.

Who is your favorite character and why?
I love the grandfather, Abraham Kennebrae. He’s fighting a losing battle against age and fragility, yet he refuses to be daunted. He wants to control his future and that of his grandsons, and he rules his family with an iron fist. Though he can be a tyrant, I feel for him, trying so hard to hang on to something, fighting for what he believes in, not realizing that what we have in this life means nothing in the light of eternity.

Did you know how The Marriage Masquerade would turn out? Were you surprised by any of the plot twists or characters?
I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted for the ending of The Marriage Masquerade. I’m a big believer in my characters having to either face their worst fear or having to face the lie they’ve believed throughout the book. I try to plot my stories with that in mind.

What is the main thing you hope readers remember from this story?
That they enjoyed it. More than teaching a lesson or teaching about history, though those are both wonderful things, I want readers to be entertained by my stories, to be taken to another era and place, to experience through the eyes of the characters a story that touches them emotionally.

What kinds of things have you done to market this book? Have you found anything that works particularly well?
Interviews like these to get the word out, blogging, book signings. I love reading blogs and I love blogging, so that’s where I put a lot of my focus. I’ve heard it advised by book marketers to focus on the one or two things you really enjoy doing in marketing and let the rest go.

Tell us what new projects you’re working on.
I’m working on a new historical series for Heartsong set in 1880’s Colorado during the silver rush which should come out sometime in 2011.

Do you have any parting words of advice?
Just, write, read, learn, submit.

Thank you, so much, for having me here today!
Erica is giving away a copy of her book The Marriage Masquerade. Be sure to stop by The Borrowed Book on 04/23/10 for your chance to win!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Puppy teeth. You might as well take a razor to your skin, they’re so sharp. Max’s teeth, my miniature dachshund, are no exception.

Of all the toys in Max’s box, the one he likes best is a purple fuzzy monkey with a squeaky inside. He’ll play with it for hours, usually during our favorite T.V. show. Normally, that doesn’t bother me, but the season was winding down, and we were about halfway into the final episode. Annoyed, I grabbed the monkey and tossed across the room. Max brought it back and resumed squeaking. I threw it again. He brought back again. Finally, I took it and hid it under my leg. Being the wonder dog he is, Max wasn’t fooled, and promptly started digging and snapping at the couch trying to get it. Unfortunately, my hand was still there, and his sharp puppy teeth caught my finger instead. Ouch!

With blood dripping down my arm, I rushed to the sink, scolding him all the way. Closer examination revealed a pretty deep scratch that would probably take quite a few days to heal. Without intending to, Max had really hurt me. I turned from the sink and found him cowering at my feet, his tail tucked between his legs. I picked him up, my voice soothing, and tried to assure him that I was no longer angry.

And then it occurred to me. How many times have I inadvertently injured someone, either with a careless word or thoughtless act? How many wounds have I inflicted, wounds that took days or even weeks to heal? I shudder to think that because of me, there may be some that carry hurts that may never heal.

Help me, oh Lord, to handle others with the same care You show unto me. Teach me to guard my tongue, and give me the strength to speak only that which is edifying to others.

Ephesians 4:1-3 (New International Version)

1As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

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

Jackie Smith – Love is a Battlefield by Annalisa Daughety

LaTawnia – The God of All Comfort by Judy Gann

Brenda Hill – Mountain Peril by Sandra Robbins

Winners of this week's books, please use the button in the upper right side of this page to 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 Annalisa Daughety, Judy Gann, and Sandra Robbins for your generosity in providing books!

Friday, April 16, 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:

Mountain Peril by Sandra Robbins ~According to an anonymous message, a young woman is going to be murdered in the North Carolina mountains. When a body is found, Danielle Tyler is shocked to learn it's her student—the third person in her life to meet an untimely death. Is she next? From disturbing notes and roses left in her office to cold-blooded murder, someone means deadly business. Detective Jack Denton—the stalwart lawman who makes her pulse race—vows to find the deranged madman, but Danielle doesn't dare let him too close. Especially when death seems to be the destiny of anyone she cares about…

The God of all Comfort: Devotions of Hope for Those Who Chronically Suffer by Judy Gann ~ God's Word is the focal point of each devotional. Both the Bible verses and the anecdotes relate to issues those with serious illness deal with daily. These issues include pain, weakness, identity, loss of independence, loneliness, and facing death. Each devotional illustrates how God uses scripture to encourage us in the midst of pain.

Love is a Battlefield by Annalisa Daughety ~ Take a walk in Shiloh National Military Park in this fun, fast-paced romance by Annalisa Daughety, a new voice in women’s contemporary fiction. Park Ranger Kristy O’Neal sees the past as a battlefield of failed relationships and broken hearts. For fellow ranger Ace Kennedy, history offers proof that true love exists. Using the history of Shiloh National Military Park and his own ancestors, Ace will try to prove to Kristy that true love does exist. . .before he loses her forever.

Winners will be announced on Saturday, 04/17/10.

Newsletter Subscribe



Blog Archive

Powered by Blogger.

Historical Romantic Suspense

Historical Romance



Popular Posts

Guest Registry