Saturday, July 31, 2010

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

Jan Marie – In A Heartbeat by Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy
Merry – Stars in the Night by Cara Putman
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, Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy (by publicist) and Cara Putman, for your generosity in providing books!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Vicki! A hearty "Moo" to you, gal! Your copy of Carol Award finalist (pinch me!) Polly Dent Loses Grip will be in the mail today.
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:

Stars in the Night by Cara Putman ~ Hollywood 1942. When attorney Audra Schaeffer's sister disappears, Audra flies to Hollywood to find her but instead must identify her body. Determined to bring the killer to justice, Audra takes a job with the second Hollywood Victory Caravan. Together with Robert Garfield and other stars, she crisscrosses the southern United States in a campaign to sell war bonds. When two other women are found dead on the train, Audra knows the deaths are tied to that of her sister. Could the killer be the man with whom she's falling in love?

In a Heartbeat by Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy ~ First came the bestselling book, then the Oscar-nominated movie—the story of Michael Oher and the family who adopted him has become one of the most talked-about true stories of our time. But until now, Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy have never told this astonishing tale in their own way and with their own words.

For Leigh Anne and Sean, it all begins with family. Leigh Anne, the daughter of a tough-as-nails U.S. Marshal, decided early on that her mission was to raise children who would become "cheerful givers." Sean, who grew up poor, believed that one day he could provide a home that would be "a place of miracles." Together, they raised two remarkable children—Collins and Sean Jr.—who shared their deep Christian faith and their commitment to making a difference. And then one day Leigh Anne met a homeless African-American boy named Michael and decided that her family could be his. She and her husband taught Michael what this book teaches all of us: Everyone has a blind side, but a loving heart always sees a path toward true charity.

Michael Oher's improbable transformation could never have happened if Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy had not opened their hearts to him. In this compelling, funny, and profoundly inspiring book, the Tuohys take us on an extraordinary journey of faith and love—and teach us unforgettable lessons about the power of giving.

Winners will be announced on Saturday, 07/31/10.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thursday, June 4, 1942

“Well, well, Audra. I do believe you’re ready to take this matter to trial.”

Audra Schaeffer soaked in the atypical praise. While Roger Clarion was a good man and fair boss, he did not toss praise around for any and all to hear. Satisfaction pulsed through her. After seven years of school and two years where the only job she could find after law school required her to serve as a paralegal, Mr. Clarion had given her a chance. If everything went well, she’d litigate her first case in Superior Court Two in one month. A simple case, but it was hers.

He pulled reading glasses low on his bulbous nose and examined her over the rims. “Don’t let me down, or we’ll both be the laughingstock of the Indianapolis legal community.”

“Yes, sir.” The image of her standing at the podium in front of the counsel table, a legal pad resting on it, filled her mind. She’d finally done it! She’d earned the right to try a case.

He smiled then shook his head. “I never thought I’d see the day when I’d have a woman working for me as an attorney, of all things.” After a twist to his bow tie and a tug on his sweater vest, he stood and grabbed the wool jacket hanging on the coat tree in the corner of his office behind the massive cherry desk. “Now get out of here. I understand you have an important call to take back home.”

Audra couldn’t hide the smile that tugged at her lips. “Fortunately, Rosemary’s usually a few minutes late.” Since the day she was born a week late, Rosemary couldn’t be hurried to join the rest of the world. Audra stood and walked to the doorway. “You can’t believe how hard it is to wait for her calls. But it is a blessing her landlady allows Rosie to call us regularly from her phone. I don’t think Mother could handle it if we didn’t have our weekly report on all things Hollywood.”

Mr. Clarion chuckled. “Off with you. Can’t stand in the way of that.”

“See you in the morning, sir.” Audra hurried from the office and scooped her hat and purse from the seat of her desk chair. If she hurried, she’d make the bus that would get her home in time for Rosemary’s call. Being a little out of breath would be worth it if she could steal a few moments with Rosemary without her parents listening. Audra pushed through the front door into the bright sunshine of an early summer Indianapolis day. Squinting against the brightness, she merged into step with the other commuters headed to carpools or buses. The sidewalks pulsed with energy as people hustled to get home to dinner and their families. The United States had only been at war a few months, but already women outnumbered men on the sidewalks.

Audra glanced at her watch and sped up her pace. Her high heels clicked against the concrete as she did everything but run toward the bus stop, one hand squishing her hat securely to her head. Ahead she could see the behemoth belching exhaust as it idled, waiting for passengers. She had to reach it, because she couldn’t miss Rosie’s call.

The last time Rosie called home, she’d been out of sorts. Short. Distracted. Tense. Yet no matter how Audra had tried, she couldn’t pull what bothered her from Rosemary. She imagined her sister doodling nonsense images on a piece of paper as she held close what disturbed her. If Rosie were home, Audra could eventually tease the problem from her and help her deal with the situation. But now, with so many miles separating them, Audra felt powerless and impotent to do anything. How she hated that. She was supposed to smooth out Rosie’s problems, as she had all through high school when the boys decided Rosie was the cat’s meow—her long legs and sweet face attracting them long before she was aware of their looks.

Audra reached the bus and her shoulders sagged. She’d made it. She climbed the steps, deposited her coin, and found a seat in the back by one of the lowered windows. Though tinged with the stench of diesel, the trickle of outside air seemed fresher than that in the bus.

“Is this seat taken?”

Audra looked up and smiled at an older woman. “Please.”

The woman, burdened with a couple bags of groceries, collapsed onto the seat next to her. She fanned her face and turned forward. “I didn’t think I’d make it in time. My kids would have been mighty disappointed if they had to wait for supper while I waited for the next bus.”

Audra smiled politely then turned back to the window. She twirled a strand of hair around her finger then tucked it behind her ear.

Tonight, Rosemary would have funny stories to weave about people she’d observed, stars she’d met, and roles she’d almost landed. The dinner table had been too quiet since she moved to California six months earlier. She’d set her face toward the West and moved, determined to make her mark on the world.

Memories of the many times Rosie had stubbornly set her path before flowed through Audra’s mind. Time after time Audra had stepped in to either help the dream come true or staunch a pending disaster. She hid a chuckle behind her hand at the image of Rosemary’s determined attempt to make the costumes for a neighborhood play one summer. She’d written a script, drafted neighbor kids for the various roles, and then decided nothing less than specially made costumes would work for her production. Only problem was, she’d never sewn a stitch in her life and Mother was visiting a sick relative. That had left Audra to fill the gaps, something she’d gladly done. The play had been a neighborhood smash, the parents overlooking the melodrama and applauding the kids’ efforts. And Audra stood in the background enjoying Rosie’s success.

Similar scenarios had played out through Rosemary’s in-between years. And Audra had loved stepping in to smooth the rough spots in Rosemary’s big plans. She wondered if Rosie had anyone to do that for her now.

Rosemary would call.

Then Mother would smile, and Daddy would lose the tight lines around his eyes.

And everything would return to normal.

And for once, Audra had exciting news of her own to report to Rosemary. Her sister would understand how hard Audra had worked for this opportunity and what it meant to have her own case. Rosemary might aspire to appear on the silver screen. All Audra had ever wanted was to appear in court, weaving arguments that won the day. She had followed her grandpa around his one-man firm for a summer, and the legal bug had bitten hard.

A tremor of excitement coursed through Audra at the thought she would finally get to stand in front of a judge and make the arguments that would determine the outcome for her client. Yes, she had news of her own. Her dreams were ready to come true.
Cara is giving away a copy of her book Stars in the Night. Be sure to stop by The Borrowed Book on Friday for your chance to win!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Since the time she could read Nancy Drew, Cara has wanted to write mysteries. In 2005 she attended a book signing at her local Christian bookstore. The rest, as they say, is history. There she met a fellow Indiana writer Colleen Coble. With prompting from her husband, Cara shared her dream with Colleen. Since those infamous words, Cara’s been writing books. This year her 8th, 9th and 10th novels release, including Stars in the Night.

Cara Putman is an active member of ACFW and its conference committee. She served as the Publicity Officer for 2007-2008 and Membership Officer in 2009. She has also been the Indiana ACFW chapter president and currently serves as the Area Coordinator for Indiana.

Cara is an attorney, lecturer at a Big Ten university, active in women's ministry, and all around crazy woman. Crazy about God, her husband and her kids that is. She graduated with honors from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Go Huskers!) and George Mason Law School. You can learn more about Cara at

When did you decide to be a writer?

I was probably 14 when I really thought I might want to write books. I even tried writing a couple of novels that my dad thinks he can uncover from an old computer but that I hope are buried to history. But I didn’t really start writing again until 2005 when I met Colleen Coble at a booksigning and my husband told her I wanted to write. Since then I’ve seen nine novels in print, with a total of eleven books out and three more coming. It’s been a whirlwind to say the least!

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

With deadlines I don’t have a choice. I have to be disciplined and write on the days I don’t feel like it. And if I don’t, then I have to write even more the following days to make up the gap. I tend to sit down with a calendar and block out the number of days I think I can write in a month and divide by the required word count for a book. If I know I will miss a day or two, then I up the word count. Deadlines are a great motivator!

What is your favorite novel and what made it special?

My favorite novel? Wow! That’s a tough question. I read so much that it’s hard to narrow it to one book. However, there are a handful of books that I have read over and over and over again. Gone with the Wind – what a sweeping saga. Christy by Catherine Marshall. And then Dee Henderson’s O’Malley seires. When I discovered that series I realized there was a place in Christian fiction for romantic suspense. Yeah!

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

I’m constantly reading. All the time. One reason is because it’s a relaxing endeavor. But I also love reading books by other authors and figuring out what makes them work. And if something doesn’t work, then I try to analyze why it didn’t and what could have improved the book. I think subconsciously I’m absorbing structure and style that then finds it’s way into my writing through my unique voice. Fortunately, I’ve read some great books in the last couple weeks. Here’s a short sample: Tomorrow We Die by Shawn Grady, Back on Murder by Mark Bertrand, Maid to Match by Deeanne Gist, and The Crimson Cipher by Susan Page Davis.

Tell us a little about your latest release:

Stars in the Night is set in Hollywood in 1942. When attorney Audra Schaeffer's sister disappears, Audra flies to Hollywood to find her but instead must identify her body. Determined to bring the killer to justice, Audra takes a job with the second Hollywood Victory Caravan. Together with Robert Garfield and other stars, she crisscrosses the southern United States in a campaign to sell war bonds. When two other women are found dead on the train, Audra knows the deaths are tied to that of her sister. Could the killer be the man with whom she's falling in love?

Where did you get your inspiration for Stars in the Night?

I was working on the last book for my second World War II series for Heartsong Presents and beginning to think about where I might want to set a future series. My husband, who is as big a World War II fan as I am if not more, and I were brainstorming one night. Since I’d done two series set in the Midwest, I kind of wanted to branch out, and I’ve long had a love of classic movies. As Eric and I were talking, we hit on the idea of Hollywood during World War II.

There were so many different roles that the stars played during the war. Canteens. USO tours. Active service. 4-Fed. The plot options and historical details seemed endless. Then as I researched I stumbled on the original Hollywood Victory Caravan. My imagination kicked into overdrive. What if I created a second Victory Caravan? What if a killer followed someone on to the train? What if people died and you were trapped on the train with a killer? And what if romance blossomed in the midst of the suspense? I got pretty pumped very quickly.

Then I got a call from the woman who became my editor at Summerside. She wondered if I might be interested in writing historical romantic suspense for them. And as God works, one of the settings they were interested in was Hollywood. It was perfect timing and a great fit.

Who is your favorite character and why?

Audra Schaeffer is an independent woman who’s taken on a man’s job (attorney) at a time it wasn’t accepted. But she puts her family about her desires. And she wonders if she can allow herself to fall in love with a man who couldn’t possibly be interested in her. But even more, this story has a layer of God wooing her to Him and His truth – even though she’s a Christian – that is so like the way God woos each of us.

Did you know how Stars in the Night would turn out? Were you surprised by any of the plot twists or characters?

I had a general idea of what was going to happen. And I had an idea of who I thought had done it. But I can remember sitting in Panera being 5000 words from the end and calling a friend in a panic. “Robin, I’m not sure who did it, and I’m almost at the end!” She talked me off the ledge and in five minutes I realized I was right about who had done it and had placed everything there all along. But boy was that a scary moment or two!

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

That God is always with us. Audra goes through some really tough things, situations that dredge up parts of her past she’d rather ignore. But she can’t. And as she walks through the book she comes to realize that God is always there…even when the sky is dark and the future bleak. I think we all need to realize that whether in the midst of tragedy or everyday life.

Tell us what new projects you’re working on.

Currently, I’m writing on Guideposts’ new contemporary mystery series. It’s about a 62 year old quilter in the Berkshire area of Massachusetts who keep stumbling into mysteries. And of course she has to solve them. :-) I’ve written book four in the series and am currently writing book ten.

Do you have any parting words of advice?

If you have dreams of writing join American Christian Fiction Writers ( Each of my book contracts has grown out of relationships developed through ACFW. And I’ve learned so much and met wonderful people through the organization.

I can be found at my website (, facebook, twitter, and shoutlife.
Thanks so much for having me!
Want more? Be sure to stop by The Borrowed Book on Thursday for an excerpt from Stars in the Night by Cara Putman!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

We interrupt the regularly scheduled lesson for a Barnyard Backstory moment. These moments are created by my friends, and meant to explain, with visual images, why backstory just ain't pretty.

"Peanut" will be your narrator. Say "hello" to Peanut!

Howdy, folks! Me and my buds are going to illustrate, as best as we know how, why that Backstory stuff ain't such a good idea.

First of all, backstory is about the hero's or heroine's (the protagonist's) journey. For the sake of this here lesson, the hero will be me. Ain't I handsome?

Now stick with me a moment while I get my helpers rounded up. Pamphyllius and Theophylus got purty names, but they're not the brightest steers. "Dumb Swiss" is what I heard the farmer call them. Me, I'm a Jersey, and that's purty smart in cow language.

Well, it looks like the dudes are getting into position, Theo on the left and Pamphyllius. . . well now, Pam just struck a beautiful pose. This exactly illustrates Back(side)story. Take a look at that, folks! The picture says it all. Backstory might as well be the backside of a cow. Any cow. No matter how you turn it, it ain't pretty.


Now, what me and the boys are going to do here is show you how to use Backstory correctly. In one easy, visual.

Almost there.

And this is it, folks. Barnyard Backstory 101 at a glimpse. I represent the protagonist. You should see him (or her) up close and personal in that first chapter. Theo is in the middle and represents what is found out about the protagonist, not his Backstory, mind you, but little tidbits of his personality that shine through his interactions with other characters that only hint at his backstory. And Pam, there, he's the third layer and represents backstory. It's what you see the least of in this picture, and what the reader should see the least of in the book. Wasn't that fun? If it's alright with you, I'm gonna go back to eating. I'm hungry. Again. And no eating-like-a-cow-jokes either. You hear me?

Thank you, Peanut, Pam, and Theo, for illustrating Backside Story-er, Backstory. Pam, I'm sure my readers will remember that visual for a long time to come.

S. Dionne Moore is a slightly insane wife, mother, and writer. Okay, maybe more than slightly insane. I mean, who would think of using cows to illustrate Backstory? She is the author of six books, three zany cozy mysteries, of which one, Polly Dent Loses Grip, was just named a finalist in ACFW's Carol Awards. Her first historical romance, Promise of Tomorrow, released this month. Visit her at No cows are invited.

If you've read down this far and would like to be entered for a free copy of Polly Dent Loses Grip, leave a comment. Or cow humor. Whichever. :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

What a fun month we've had celebrating the release of Love Finds You in Calico, California! We want to close this contest with a bang...and make YOU a favorite with all your friends, so we're calling this one "Share the Joy". We'll mail a signed copy of Love Finds You in Calico, California to five of your favorite people per your request—and one for the winner, too!

How to enter: Simply stop by The Borrowed Book, leave a comment, AND GET ONE OF YOUR FRIENDS TO LEAVE A COMMENT. Be sure your friend mentions you in their comment. Both of you will be entered, each of you will have a chance to win. You must leave a comment each week in order to be eligible to win that week’s prize. For example, winners for the week of July 4-10 will be drawn from the comments left that week, and so on.

Winners will be announced on Mondays. Good luck, and thanks for helping us celebrate the release of Love Finds You in Calico, California!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving
Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy share how their family’s lives changed In a Heartbeat

First came the best-selling book, then the Oscar-nominated movie; the story of Michael Oher and the family who adopted him has become one of the most celebrated true stories of our time. The Blind Side—both the New York Times #1 bestseller and the Hollywood blockbuster—introduced the world to Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy, the Memphis couple who was out for a morning drive when they saw young Michael Oher walking alone along the side of the road. They stopped the car that day, and their lives changed in a heartbeat. That’s the story we all know, but now, for the first time, the remarkable couple depicted in The Blind Side tells their own story, and “The story is greater than we are,” explains Leigh Anne. The Tuohy family story demonstrates that taking a chance on someone is worth the risk.

In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving by Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy with Sally Jenkins (Henry Holt, July 13, 2010) takes readers on an extraordinary journey of faith and love and shares unforgettable lessons about the power of giving. The Tuohys’ deeply inspiring memoir offers readers a detailed picture of a family that makes giving a way of life, the huge blessings that decision has brought to them, and the ways we can all make a difference in our own communities.

Just a few of the lessons in generosity from the Tuohys include:

- If you can’t give something big, give something small.

- “Get one, give one”—when you receive something, give part of it away.

- Giving does not mean enabling—before you give intelligently, you have to learn the value of a dollar.

- Generosity starts at home.

One aspect of the story that people haven’t heard is just how close the Tuohys came to continuing on their way without giving Michael a second thought, as so many others must have done. “I was going to keep on driving,” Sean Tuohy says.

Adjusting to their new life with Michael was not without its complications, and the Tuohys speak frankly about the issues faced by everyone in the family. All three Tuohy kids reflect on their experiences. In a Heartbeat reveals:

- How bringing Michael into their lives was as much an awakening for the Tuohys as it was for him

- The awkward gaps they confronted between privileged and poor and black and white, and how the family worked together to bridge them

- Their worries and concerns at several stages in their growing relationship with Michael

The Tuohys’ goal is not so much to tell their own story but to show others how they can make a difference, one person at a time. “There are a million Michaels,” Leigh Anne says. “Not every kid has the potential to become a star player in the NFL, but that kid may be the person who grows up to cure cancer, or who becomes a great husband or wife to someone.” Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohys’ compelling, funny, and profoundly inspiring voices encourage readers to move past the “no” in their heads and follow the “yes” in their hearts to see how—in a heartbeat—anyone can harness the power of giving to change the world.

The Tuohys believe The Blind Side was so successful because people see themselves in the story, and that they too could make a difference. They wrote In a Heartbeat to show others how they can do something—big or small—to change someone’s life for the better. The Tuohys feel that it was their family that received the blessing in helping Michael, and they want others to receive the blessings that come with cheerful giving as well. “He had a much greater impact on our lives than we did on his life,” says Leigh Anne.

The Tuohys taught Michael what this book teaches all of us: Everyone has a blind side, but a loving heart always sees a path toward true charity.

Be sure to stop by The Borrowed Book on Friday for your chance to win a copy of In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving by Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy!

In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving
by Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy with Sally Jenkins

Henry Holt and Company/July 13, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8050-9338-4/288 pages/hardcover/$24.00

Saturday, July 24, 2010

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

Bonnie S. Calhoun – Love Finds You in Calico, California by Elizabeth Ludwig
Michelle Sutton - Gallimore by Michelle Griep
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, Michelle Griep for your generosity in providing books!

Friday, July 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 Finds you in Calico, California by Elizabeth Ludwig ~ A young seamstress weaves her own story in a world run by men. After hearing news of a silver strike in Calico, California, Abigail Watts packs up her needles and thread and follows her beloved father out West. But when she’s suddenly left alone in the rough mining town, Abigail finds herself pressed into a marriage of convenience with the local livery owner, Nathan Hawk. Determined to uncover the mystery surrounding her father’s death in the mines, Abigail agrees to stay in Calico. But when the truth sets her free, she must decide whether to leave the town - and Nathan - for good.


Gallimore by Michelle Griep ~ Jessica Neale's faith is lost the day of her husband's death, and with it, her belief in love. In a journey to find peace, she encounters a gentle, green-eyed stranger who leads her to the ruins of the medieval castle, Gallimore. On his way to battle, Colwyn Haukswyrth, knight of Gallimore, comes face to face with a storm the likes of which he's never seen, and a woman in the midst of it who claims to live centuries in the future. The Lady Jessica of Neale is an irksome, provoking bit of woman to be sure. And she's about to turn his beliefs on end. The product of a family rooted in pain and evil, Colwyn has focused on naught but himself-until Jessica. To a mysterious prophecy stitched on a tapestry, through the invasion of Gallimore itself, Colwyn and Jessica are bound together by a lesson in forgiveness and love-a bond that might be strong enough to survive the grave.

Winners will be announced on Saturday, 07/24/10.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Congratulations to cfoxes33--the 100th follower of The Borrowed Book!! As our way of saying thank you, we'd like to reward you with a gift card to Starbucks. Please email me with your contact information and I'll get it right out!
Thanks to everyone who follows The Borrowed Book. Happy reading!!

Chapter One
Calico, 1883

“Fire! The mine is on fire!”

Abigail bolted upright in her bed, the blankets clutched to her chest. Pounding feet and strangled cries mingled with the wispy fingers of her dreams. Outside her window, an eerie orange glow illuminated the night sky.

“Papa?” Thrusting back the covers she jumped from the bed, her legs chafed by the straw poking out from the ticking, and ran from her room Next to the fireplace, her father’s pallet lay empty, the blankets tossed aside as though he’d scrambled from them in a hurry. Her worried gaze traveled to the door where the heavy oak beam used to secure it stood propped against the wall.

He’s gone to the mine.

Her father’s repeated warnings rang in her head, but she ignored them and darted across the cabin to fling open the door. People carrying torches rushed by on the street, their voices lifted in panic.

“What’s happening?” she shouted. It was no use. Snagged by the brisk wind whipping down from the mountains, her words carried to no one in particular.

Their tiny home lay on the edge of town, next to the livery. Perhaps Nathan Hawk, the livery’s new owner, knew something. Sucking in a lungful of sharp air, Abigail yanked her shawl from its peg next to the door and threw it around her shoulders, struggling a bit as it tangled in her long, dark curls. The shawl was scant protection, but at least her nightgown was covered. Her red boots rested in the corner, but pausing to slip them on would waste precious seconds and Papa needed her now.

She whirled and hurried into the cool air, wincing as the stone-encrusted ground bit into her feet.
Raucous laughter spilled from one of Calico’s many saloons and drifted down the street. The drunkards inside cared nothing for the smoke billowing from the mine. They were too wrapped up in their whiskey to notice the shouts and panicked neighing of the horses. Perhaps they’d be too preoccupied to notice one witless girl scurrying through the night, helpless as she was to run or defend herself if one of them attacked.

“Hold it right there.”

The harsh demand sent a jolt through her heart. She skittered to a stop, peering through the gloom for a glimpse of the speaker’s face.

“Didn’t you hear the explosion? Don’t you know it’s not safe?”
A gun barrel glinted in the pale moonlight cascading from the mountains. Abigail clutched the shawl tighter to her shoulders. “M–Mr. Hawk?”

“Miss Watts?” He sounded as incredulous as Abigail felt. Lowering the rifle, he said, “Land sakes, woman, hasn’t your father ever warned you—?”

“Papa’s in the mine. It’s on fire.” Speaking the words birthed fresh panic. “I was hoping you could help….” She couldn’t finish. Desperation boiled in her chest. “Oh, please!”

Nathan’s strong hands grasped her shoulders. Without a word, he drew her into the livery and struck a match. The dim glow of the lantern drove away the shadows, but it did nothing for the darkness crowding her heart.

“You say your father is in the mine?”

Now that she could see his face, Abigail read genuine concern in Nathan’s features. His brows were drawn, the muscles along his jaw bunched. She nodded. “Yes, but I didn’t dare go there alone—”

“Absolutely not.” His gray gaze sharpened. When she flinched, his tone softened. “You’d only be endangering your own life. Anson wouldn’t want that.”
Her father’s name rolled easily from Nathan’s lips. The two had become good friends over the past couple of months, after her father took the newly arrived livery owner under his wing.
Nathan gestured toward one of the stalls. “Come. Sit with Lizzie while I see what I can find out.”

Abigail looked in the direction he pointed. She needed Nathan’s help and Lizzie couldn’t be left alone, but the idea of waiting helplessly while he went to the mine filled her with frustration.

“Miss Watts?”

She shook the shackles of indecision from her limbs and picked her way across the dirt floor. A tangle of arms and legs, Nathan’s five-year-old daughter slept soundly in the sweet-smelling hay. Abigail had taken an instant liking to the spunky little girl—and she to Abigail, often following her around town while she delivered mended clothing. Abigail sank to her knees alongside the sleeping child and peered up at Nathan.

“You will hurry?”

He nodded. By the light of the lantern, his grim face appeared even more somber than usual. “You should be safe in here but…do not leave Lizzie’s side for any reason. Is that clear?”

Warning sharpened his tone, but Abigail managed to bob her head. Nathan was a big man, rough-hewn and hard, but with a sadness in his eyes that said he was neither cruel nor unfeeling. Once she’d given her promise, he hooked the lantern on a nail above his head then strode out the door with his rifle gripped in his hands.

Outside, the shouts grew louder. Abigail kept her gaze fastened to the cracks in the splintered door, every moment hoping Nathan would return with her father in tow. At the same time, she feared that another figure with a more sinister intent might materialize.

She crouched closer to Lizzie. Would she ever feel safe in Calico? In the daylight, when the sun sparkled on the mountainside and wildflowers bloomed in abundance, Abigail talked easily with the prospectors. She laughed at their antics and enjoyed when they gathered with their families for a meal on the church grounds. But at night…

Clutching her shawl to her chest, she breathed a silent prayer, wishing the confidence she felt singing the hymns on Sunday was more tangible now.

Lizzie sighed, and Abigail thought she might awaken. Instead, the child rolled to her side, dislodging the thin blanket she’d been wrapped in. Grasping the edge of the covering, Abigail pulled it higher around the girl’s slender shoulders. The blanket would do for now, while the last traces of summer sun heated the sands of the Mohave, but in the winter? Chilling storms and dropping temperatures were only weeks away. Perhaps by then Nathan would have sufficient funds to finish the house he was erecting beside the livery. If not—

Winters were harsh in this part of California, even more so for a child as young as Lizzie. Abigail reached down and stroked the girl’s flushed cheek, tears gathering in her own eyes as she did so. She and Lizzie had both lost their mothers. What would Abigail do if she lost her father too?
A sharp gust of wind ripped through the entrance and thrust the door open with a crash. Abigail stared, her heart pounding. Then, with a muted cry, she threw herself between the entrance and Lizzie.

Her worst fears were realized. Outlined against the fiery night sky was the hulking figure of a man.
I'm giving away a copy of my book, Love Finds You in Calico, California. Be sure to stop by The Borrowed Book on Friday for your chance to win!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I've had so much fun celebrating the release of my book, Love Finds You in Calico, California this month. Response has been great--I even received a 4 Star review from Romantic Times! To read more about what others are saying, visit my website. In the meantime, a big THANK-YOU to all who have participated in our special giveaways!

Now, rather than tell you even MORE about myself (grin), I thought you might enjoying getting to know the hero of my book, Nathan Hawk. In a rather odd twist, here he is...

Nathan, tell me the most interesting thing about you.

Hello, ma’am. Thank you for having me on your. . .blog. Did I say that right? We sure never had anything like that in Calico. Our media consisted of a little old paper called “The Calico Print.” I brought along a copy of it, in case you wanted to take a looksie at the doings in a mining town.

As for your question. . .well, don’t know as I can say there’s anything about me that folks would find interesting. . .other than the fact that I’m a widower, raising my daughter by myself. Come to think of it, Lizzie—that’s my daughter—does make my life interesting and wonderful. Without her, I don’t reckon there would be much to say about me. Don’t figure I would have cared much about livin’ after my wife died if it hadn’t been for Lizzie.

What do you do for fun?

Spendin’ time with Lizzie is about the one thing. . .the only thing. . .I let myself do just because I like it. Well. . .and you’ll pardon my red face, ma’am. . .I guess I should clarify and say spending time with Lizzie used to be the only thing I did for fun. Now, spending time with Abigail is just as important. I guess you could say she and I married out of necessity, but that sure isn’t the way of it anymore. Keeping my new bride happy sure makes for a fun day.

What do you put off doing because you dread it?

A man’s work doesn’t wait, ma’am, especially in a hard town like Calico. There ain’t much that can be put off, not for long anyway. Still, I sure ain’t never liked having to scold Lizzie. See, she hasn’t had the benefit of a momma, so poor substitute that I am, I’ve had to take up where my wife left off. That ain’t easy, especially when it comes to caring for a little girl’s feelings.

What are you afraid of most in life?

Well. . .uh. . .that’s a hard question. It ain’t easy for a man to admit to being afraid of anything. But. . .I guess I’ve had to come to grips recently with the fear of losing my family. Of. . .losing Abigail.

See, I’ve always sort of blamed myself for my first wife’s death. She never wanted to move west. That was my idea. So when the consumption took her. . .well, her passing left some deep scars. I’m learning to trust the Lord with my loved ones, but I gotta confess, it ain’t easy.

What do you want out of life?

I reckon that would be what every man wants—a wife, family. A good, solid house to come home to. Oh, and nowadays, I’ve been wanting to make my peace with God a little more than I used to.

What is the most important thing to you?

For sure, Lizzie and Abigail are the most important things/people in my life. Keeping them safe means everything.

Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?

Other than the Good Book, I ain’t got much time for reading, though I do pick up “The Calico Print” from time to time, just to see what’s happening in other parts of the world.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

That’s kind of a funny question, seeing as how we’re all exactly how God intended us. But, I guess if I could step in and do the work of the Lord, I would change my stubborn streak—make me less like a mule.

Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?

Pets? No, ma’am, we ain’t got a pet. . .unless you count Charlie. He’s one of the mules the mining company uses to drag ore to the stamp mill. Ornery old thing, but Lizzie loves him. Reckon I do, too, if I were honest.

If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?

Well. . .I reckon if you’d asked me that question a few months ago, I would have said I would go back to the day I talked my first wife into moving West. I sure enough have lived with regret over that decision.

Now, however, I realize that if I were to go back and change that course, I never would have met Abigail. Painful as the road has been, getting to this point has not only brought me to love and faith in her, it’s brought me to love and faith in God. The way I figure it, that is something I would never change.
Thanks so much for being with us today, Nathan. And now, I hope our readers will enjoy this little video from California Travel Tips!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

July 20, 2010

Backstory is everything that has happened to your character/s before chapter one.

The problem with backstory is simple. It slows down the story before it ever has a chance to get started. It tells too much about the character. It gives away too many elements of the character that are critical to the story.

Think of it. How often do you meet a person and automatically know everything about them? You don't. You learn who the person is very slowly over a period of days, months, and sometimes years. Your story is the same way. Allow the reader to get to know the character slowly, through snippets. Backstory should be woven throughout the manuscript. Peppered in to give the story some spice at just the right time.

So why is it so easy for a writer to fall into the backstory chasm? Many times it’s because, subconsciously, you are trying to get a handle on who your character is, where they came from, and what kind of upbringing they had. You see, what you’re really doing in those first chapters is a character sketch!

You could also be struggling with where to start the story. I’ve often heard editors encourage a writer to cut the first chapter, or even the first two chapters, because after those chapters comes the *real* story. In other words, those first chapters are filled with backstory that is unnecessary to the *real* story. The same solution is applicable. But don't throw those chapters away, cut and paste them into another document and keep it. You will need to refer back to it throughout the writing of your manuscript.

Remember, a reader wants to be swept up and carried away to a different world with different characters, and they don’t want to wait until chapter two to get there. This is why it is up to you, as the writer, to find the perfect place in which to begin your character's journey.

Let's look at some examples of backstory within the first paragraph of the first chapter:

Example 1:

Belinda froze in place. Ever since she was six she knew this would happen. Her father had always warned her she should be careful on the prairies during thunderstorms. Tornadoes could occur at any moment. And they could kill. Just like the wedge shaped one that had killed her mother when she was six. And that’ s when she’d had the premonition. The one that told her she, too, would be killed by a tornado.

Example 2:

You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille. Garrett Thompson flicked on his turn signal and wished the tune coming from his radio was the song with the same line, instead of his reality. His Lucille, however, was really called Lucy. She would have hated being called Lucille.

Garrett eased into the right lane ahead of a Mac truck going far too fast. He kept his eyes on the vehicle until he knew it would slow. His mind sifted back over the events that led up to Lucy’s goodbye. She wasn’t the prettiest girl in the county, but she sure was the smartest and the kindest, though her tantrum twenty minutes ago sure supplied evidence to the contrary.

Example 3:

Thimblewyeth was a young woman of fourteen. She enjoyed listening to westerns and old-time radio, despite being a child of the twenty-second century. Even her mother, steeped in her own generation of 2182, couldn’t understand Thimblewyeth’s delight in stories over a century old. But her father understood. He was tall and had a pot belly, but he listened to Thimblewyeth talk of cowboys and range wars as he worked on his aircar or tinkered with the programming on their robutler, who could never seem to get the morning coffee quite to her father’s taste.

Three very different examples. Are these, in your opinion, good starting points for the story. Why or why not? Which of these examples relies too heavily on backstory? What would you do to change these pieces to make them acceptable?

S. Dionne Moore is a multipublished author of both cozy mystery and historical romance. Find out more about her and her books at

Monday, July 19, 2010

Michelle’s been writing since she first discovered Crayolas and blank wall space. In all that she writes, she endeavors to bring glory to God—except for that graffiti phase she went through as a teenager. When she’s not wearing her superhero cape, she’s a mom of four, teaches at a homeschool coop, and lives at the intersection of grace and mercy.

When did you decide to be a writer?

Writing was never a conscious decision. It’s just a part of me, like an elbow or a foot. While all the other kids spent their summers backpacking and canoeing, I begged my mom to let me go to Poetry Camp.

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

You mean I’m supposed to? The day I trust my writing, without considering suggestions or critiques, is the day I’ll start stagnating as a writer. Plus, my pride would get as ugly big as the national deficit.

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

Wow, I wish I could write whenever I felt like it. What a treat that would be. I have to be disciplined. I’ve got one night a week to write, so I make the most of it.

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

Travel to exotic lands, spend an entire day at a spa, shop with an unlimited Visa card. Those are things I’d like to do, but what I really do is read, rollerblade, and eat excessive amounts of dark chocolate.

What is your favorite novel and what made it special?

Only one?! I’ve got lots of favorites, but I’ll name one that I make a point to pick up and read every few years or so. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. It haunts in so many ways. The setting is ethereal. Heroine Jane is a feisty mix of virtues that I’d sum up as compassionate survivalist—a trait every woman should own. And I absolutely adore Mr. Rochester. He’s mysterious, blunt, and very powerful, everything a proper hero should be.

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

Reading amazing well-written prose stretches me to go beyond the mediocre, to play around with words as an art form. And reading really bad writing is salve to my ego.

Tell us a little about your latest release:

GALLIMORE is a Wizard of Oz tale with a medieval twist.
On his way to battle, Colwyn Haukswyrth, knight of Gallimore, faces a storm the likes of which he’s never seen, and a woman in its midst who claims to live centuries in the future. Jessica Neale’s faith may have been lost the day of her husband’s death, but she's about to turn Colwyn's beliefs on end and form a bond that might be strong enough to survive the grave.

Where did you get your inspiration for GALLIMORE?

I was driving home late one night in the midst of the freakiest storm I’ve ever encountered. Looking out my windshield was like watching a horror movie. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I probably should’ve been scared, but I was too busy wondering ‘what if…’

Which character is most like you?

Not that I’m a heroine by any stretch of the imagination, but I’d say the main character, Jess. She frequently goes off half-cocked, doesn’t think through things before she acts, which lands her in heaps of trouble, and she often thinks of a complaint before counting her blessings.

Who is your favorite character and why?

That’d be my hero, Colwyn. Crunchy on the outside, chewy on the in—there’s so much more to him than when you first get to know him…which reminds me to give others a chance before I go judging them.

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

I knew where I wanted to begin and end, but everything in the middle was a surprise. A few characters popped in that I didn’t expect—and surprisingly they were both soldiers with a fierce loyalty to Colwyn.

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

That sometimes you’ve just got to let go of the past. Living and reliving things you can’t change does you no good in the present.

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

When my title released on Amazon’s Kindle list, it sold more in the first 3 months on there than it did in paperback. So if there’s any chance you can get your book on Kindle, go for it.

Tell us what new projects you’re working on.

I’m currently marketing to publishers a finished manuscript that’s a time travel back to the Viking age. Here’s a blurb:

People go missing every day. Many meet with foul play, some leave the social grid by choice, but others are never accounted for. Such is the fate of successful linguistics professor Cassie Larson. She leads a life her undergrad students hope to attain, until she tumbles into the North Sea and is sucked into a swirling vortex…and a different century.

Do you have any parting words of advice?

Don’t sweat the small stuff, and really…the big stuff isn’t worth perspiring over either. Last time I checked, God was still on the throne. He’s got everything under control.

Visit my site at:
Michelle is giving away a copy of her book Gallimore. Be sure to stop by The Borrowed Book on Friday for your chance to win!
We're continuing our month long celebration of the release of Love Finds You in Calico, California with another great gift...

Calico Gift Basket (stuffed with items from the book, plus one signed copy of Love Finds You in Calico, California).

To Enter: Simply leave a comment after this post AND GET ONE OF YOUR FRIENDS TO LEAVE A COMMENT. Be sure your friend mentions you in their comment. Both of you will be entered, each of you will have a chance to win. You must leave a comment each week in order to be eligible to win that week’s prize. For example, winners for the week of July 18-24 will be drawn from the comments left that week, and so on.

Winners will be announced on Mondays. Check the sidebar for information on future giveaways. Good luck, and thanks for helping us celebrate the release of Love Finds You in Calico, California.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) recently announced the finalists in its Carol Award contest (formerly known as the Book of the Year). Among the finalists were two of our staff here at The Borrowed Book...
Drumroll please...
Sandra Moore (writing as S. Dionne Moore) and Janice Thompson (writing as Janice Hanna)!
Polly Dent Loses Grip by S. Dionne Moore ~ Who says exercise is good for one’s health? Certainly not Polly Dent!

Polly Dent Loses Grip on the treadmill and takes a fatal spill that’s ruled an accident.

While helping her mother-in-law move into Bridgeton Towers Assisted Living & Nursing, LaTisha Barnhart’s nose smells trouble simmering. The residents’ gossip is revealing all kinds of motives for murder.

Gertrude Herrman is out looking for love in the form of Thomas Philcher (or is it love of his fat wallet instead?), and Polly’s fall eliminates Gertrude’s competition once and for all.

Otis Payne, the venerable director of Bridgeton Towers, is over a barrel when his wife demands cash—or else she’ll carry on without him.

Mitzi Mullins’s penchant for rhyme puts her in direct line as perpetrator of the crime, and Sue Mie’s mistake seals Polly’s fate.

Can LaTisha stay on her achin’ feet, and one step ahead of the villain, long enough to solve yet another crime?
Pushing Up Daisies by Janice Hanna ~ Annie Peterson is a small-town mom from Pennsylvania trying to make it through a season of weddings—one on top of another. She’s just married off her oldest daughter (Brandi), but still has another ceremony/reception to plan for Brandi’s twin sister, Candy.

Annie and her daughter visit the local Clarksborough florist shop (Flowers by Fiona) to order Gerber daisies for the big day. Later that day, Fiona mysteriously dies while making a delivery to a local funeral home. The funeral director, Eddie Moyer, is the suspected target, but he ends up MIA, so it’s hard to say what’s happened. Ironically, Sasha turns up missing as well – possibly for good.

Who is behind the funeral home murder? Join Annie as she attempts to crack the case!

Love Finds You in Poetry, Texas by Janice Hanna ~ Belinda Bauer in her ivory tower…

In the quaint community of Poetry, Texas, Belinda spies an opportunity. The town is filled with farmers and railroad men in need of wives, so why not set herself up at as a marriage broker?

Belinda sends little poems to prospective brides all over the country, and her plan seems to work. One by one, women begin to arrive in Poetry. There’s only one problem: Belinda doesn’t have a clue what she’s doing, and most of the brides marry the wrong men!

One client is particularly unhappy. Georg Kaufman, the local barber, has lost more than one prospective wife to Belinda’s fumbled attempts. For some reason, she just can’t seem to find Georg’s perfect match, though it’s not for lack of trying.

Is there a poetic ending in store for Georg—and for Belinda herself?
Congratulations, ladies!!

Max is like a child in many ways, among them, his toys. He likes to scatter them around the house. It’s not enough to get one toy out and play, he wants them all out at once.

I couldn’t sleep one night. Trying not to wake my husband, I slid from the bed without turning on a light and tiptoed my way to the door. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize Max had left his favorite squeaky lying on the floor. I stepped on it, and the most horrendous wail I’d ever hear echoed through the room. Max started barking, thinking someone was playing with his toys, and I frantically started shushing him. Finally, I had no choice but to turn on the light.

Needless to say, there sat my husband, blinking sleepily. “What happened?”

I held up the squeaky.

“That dog has too many toys,” he grumbled, flopping back onto the bed and throwing the blanket over his head.

I stifled a chuckle as I doused the light and backed out of the room, squeaky in hand. He was right, Max did have too many, but I didn’t have the heart to throw any of them away.

Which got me thinking.

Most of us can easily be accused of having more than we need. The real question is not what do we have, but what have we done to get it? Have we made God second to our pursuit of material wealth? Have we sacrificed our time with God for time at the office? When all is said and done, can we be accused of having too many toys?

I looked closely, I’m afraid the answer for me would be yes. I am learning, however, to throw those things away.

Mark 10:17-23 (New King James Version)

Jesus Counsels the Rich Young Ruler

17 Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”
18 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’” 20 And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.” 21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”22 But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

With God All Things Are Possible

23 Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!”

Saturday, July 17, 2010

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

Elyssa – They Almost Always Come Home by Cynthia Ruchti
Heather E – Touching the Clouds by Bonnie Leon

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 Cynthia Ruchti and Bonnie Leon for your generosity in providing books!

Friday, July 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 two great books:

They Almost Always Come Home by Cynthia Ruchti ~ When Libby’s husband Greg fails to return from a two-week canoe trip to the Canadian wilderness, the authorities soon write off his disappearance as an unhappy husband’s escape from an empty marriage and unrewarding career. Their marriage might have survived if their daughter Lacey hadn’t died…and if Greg hadn’t been responsible. Libby enlists the aid of her wilderness savvy father-in-law and her faith-walking best friend to help her search for clues to her husband’s disappearance…if for no other reason than to free her to move on. What the trio discovers in the search upends Libby’s presumptions about her husband and rearranges her faith.

Touching the Clouds by Bonnie Leon ~ Kate Evans is an adventurous and independent young woman with a pioneering spirit. She pilots a mail-delivery plane in the forbidding Alaskan wilderness, the lone woman in a male profession. But even that seems easy compared to finding true love. She likes a fellow pilot and would even consider marrying him--if it weren't for Paul, a mysterious man on her mail route with a gentle spirit and a past to hide. Can Kate break through the walls Paul has put up around his heart? And will her quest for adventure be her demise? Book 1 in the Alaskan Skies series, Touching the Clouds will draw readers in with raw emotion and suspense, all against the stunning backdrop of the Alaskan wilds.

Winners will be announced on Saturday, 07/17/10.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Kate Evans pushed open the screen door and stepped onto the broad front porch of her parents’ farmhouse. This was supposed to be her wedding day. Instead, her lace, floor-length gown hung in her closet.

Shifting her pack over one shoulder, she moved to the railing. Closing her eyes, she savored the feel of a cool breeze on her skin and breathed in the subtle fragrance of sun-heated grass. Richard’s image stormed against her peace. She could see his blond curls spilling onto his brow, his wounded eyes. He’d always been steady, but her announcement had staggered him. She wanted to love him enough to stay, but the turmoil she’d been feeling had escalated until she felt she had no choice—she just couldn’t go through with it.

She gripped the porch railing, anxiety sweeping over her like a summer squall. Had she made a terrible mistake? It was one thing to postpone the wedding and quite another to call it off altogether.

They’d been friends since childhood and were comfortable with each other. But did that mean they belonged together? If she stayed, she’d be forced to give up her longtime dream and would have to settle for a commonplace life. She’d end up resenting Richard, and she couldn’t bear the thought.

Shaking off her doubts, she turned her gaze to her mother’s flower gardens. The well-tended yard was bordered by patches of rich soil embracing velvety pansies and roses that hummed their splendor. In contrast, a flower bed on one side was congested with brightly colored dahlias that shouted at the sun. Beyond were the apple orchards. The flowers were off the trees now, which were loaded with small green apples.

Kate folded her arms across her chest. She couldn’t have picked a worse time to set out on a venture. It was 1935 and much of the country was in the midst of a crushing drought, and despite President Roosevelt’s New Deal, the economy was in shambles.

She heard the screen door creak open and turned to see her mother step onto the porch. “Hi, Mom,” she said as cheerily as she could manage.

Joan Evans lifted a picnic basket. “Here’s some food to take along.” She managed a smile.

Kate took the basket. “Thanks.”

Joan picked fading leaves off a hanging basket of red lobelia, then turned kind eyes on her daughter. “We spent a lot of summer evenings on this porch.” She pressed her fingertips to her lips. “I remember you and Alison, sleeping out here and gabbing until all hours.”

Kate took a deep breath and let it out slowly, trying to release the rising ache in her chest. “Those were good days.” Memories, like a slide show, flitted across her mind until she purposely pushed them aside.

“Kate, you explained why you’re going, but I know there’s more.”

“I told you, I want to do something with my life.”

“You don’t think being a wife and raising a family is doing something?”

“It is . . . but it’s not right for me, not now. I have to . . .” There was no way to describe how she felt—as if her heart would shatter if she didn’t get away. She had to do something that mattered, something better than just being what people expected, a farm girl who got married and had babies. And better than the girl who larked about with planes.

Joan settled into a wicker chair.

Kate knew what was coming, and she didn’t want to discuss any of it. She sat on the edge of a chair and set her pack on the ground. She held the basket in her lap. Clasping her hands around it, she pulled it against her stomach, hanging onto it as if it were an anchor.
Joan began gently. “I know a day doesn’t go by that you don’t remember and feel the burden of . . . of Alison’s death.” She studied the dead leaves she cradled in her hands, then looked at her daughter.” It was a long time ago. It’s over. You can’t get that day back. You have to go on with your life.”

Kate pursed her lips. She’d decided not to speak, but no matter how she tried to hold back the words, they spilled out anyway. “You don’t know what it’s like—every day knowing she’s dead and that it’s my fault. If I hadn’t been so full of myself, so careless, Alison would still be alive. She’d be married and have babies and her mom and dad would still be happy—and they wouldn’t hate me.”

“Not living your life won’t bring her back, it won’t make anything better.”

“I’m trying to live my life. But I can’t do it here. Every time I go into town I’m afraid I’ll see her mother or father . . . . or her brother or—“

“Kate, you can’t let the past rule the present.”

“That’s just it. As long as I stay here, everything is about the past. I need to start over in a place where I can prove myself, a place where I’m free to live without shadows of that horrible day dogging me.” She shook her head, squeezing back tears. “After the accident, I was too afraid to even go up in a plane. I thought I’d never fly again, but Dad helped me and I did. I’m a good pilot because of him. Now, well . . . I’m twenty-five years old, and I’ve got to do something with that ability while I still have time. And I want you to be proud of me.”

“We are. You know that.”

Kate chewed on her lower lip. “Okay, but I’ve got to be proud of me too.”

“Alaska’s a dangerous place, especially for pilots.”

The front door opened and Kate’s father stepped out. “So, Katie, you ready?”

She grabbed her pack and stood. “All set.”

Bill Evans slung an arm around his daughter’s shoulders. “Well, let’s go then.”

Bonnie is giving away a copy of her book Touching the Clouds. Be sure to stop by The Borrowed Book on Friday for your chance to win!

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