Friday, December 31, 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:


Mistletoe Prayers by Marta Perry and Betsy St. Amant ~

THE BODINE FAMILY CHRISTMAS By Marta Perry

Left at the altar on Christmas Eve, Annabel Bodine has lost her holiday spirit. When her big brother brings home handsome Coast Guard buddy Travis McCall, can she summon the courage to open her heart to love for the holidays—and maybe for a lifetime?

THE GINGERBREAD SEASON By Betsy St. Amant

Allie James returns to her hometown in need of a holiday job. Never did she expect old boyfriend Jordan Walker to hire her as his secretary! Years ago Jordan shredded her heart like wrapping paper. Now he must convince Allie that all he wants for Christmas is her love.


One Imperfect Christmas by Myra Johnson ~ Graphic designer Natalie Pearce faces the most difficult Christmas of her life. For almost a year, her mother has lain in a nursing home, the victim of a massive stroke, and Natalie blames herself for not being there when it happened. Worse, she’s allowed the monstrous load of guilt to drive a wedge between her and everyone she loves—most of all her husband Daniel. Her marriage is on the verge of dissolving, her prayer life is suffering, and she’s one Christmas away from hitting rock bottom.

Junior-high basketball coach Daniel Pearce is at his wit’s end. Nothing he’s done has been able to break through the wall Natalie has erected between them. And their daughter Lissa’s adolescent rebellion isn’t helping matters. As Daniel’s hope reaches its lowest ebb, he wonders if this Christmas will spell the end of his marriage and the loss of everything he holds dear.

Winners will be announced on Saturday, 01/01/11.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Award-winning author Myra Johnson writes what she likes to call “romantic women’s fiction”—emotionally gripping stories about love, life, and faith. Her first novel, One Imperfect Christmas, debuted from Abingdon Press in September 2009. She also writes for Barbour’s Heartsong Presents line. Her romance Autumn Rains (November 2009) was named a 2010 finalist in the Short Contemporary Romance category of the prestigious ACFW Carol Awards. Married since 1972, Myra and her husband are the proud parents of two beautiful daughters who, along with their godly husbands, have huge hearts for ministry. Four rambunctious grandsons and one precious granddaughter take up another big chunk of Myra’s heart. She and her husband now share their home with two lovable dogs and a snobby parakeet. Myra writes full-time and is active in her church as well as local and national writers groups.

We’re focusing on Christmas all this month! What do you most associate with Christmas where you live?

A special part of Christmas in our city is a large church and Bible college that every year puts up thousands and thousands of Christmas lights and displays all across their campus. You can drive through, or (weather permitting) park and walk through. It’s like a fairyland of color, music, and light—wonderful for getting into the Christmas spirit!

Do you have any special family traditions you do at Christmas time?

We usually attend Christmas Eve worship at our church, and then afterward drive through the neighborhoods to enjoy the Christmas lights. On Christmas morning, the rule is that we eat breakfast first (I usually make cranberry-orange scones), and then open gifts. And the doggies always open theirs first!

Do you have a favorite Christmas Carol and if so do you know why?

My favorite carol isn’t one of the more familiar ones. It’s called “Of the Father’s Love Begotten,” a gentle, melodious song that speaks of God’s love for us in Christ even before the world was created.

If you could spend Christmas any way you could how would you celebrate?

I’d always have my children and grandchildren with me. One of our daughters loves winter and would much prefer a white Christmas, but personally, I wouldn’t mind having Christmas in Hawaii or some other warm, pleasant tropical locale!

Do you have any special memories of Christmas?

When our kids were young, every year after opening gifts we’d write, stage, and videotape our very own homemade Christmas movie. The first one we did was a comedic takeoff of “A Christmas Carol.” Another year we did a parody of “The Nutcracker Suite.” Twenty years later I still have all the videos. Such fun to watch and reminisce!

What does a typical Christmas Eve and or Christmas Day look like for you?

My husband and I both sing in the church choir, so we usually participate in a Christmas Eve service, then, as I mentioned earlier, drive around town and look at lights. On Christmas morning after breakfast, we open gifts and then relax with coffee and the morning paper. I try to keep the meal planning simple—who wants to slave away in the kitchen on Christmas Day??? We spend the day “playing” with our new “toys,” just hanging out with family, napping, taking a walk with the dogs, or whatever we feel like. It’s a very laid-back, special time with loved ones.

Do you have any Christmas movies or Christmas books you like to see or read each year?

We try to watch White Christmas every year. It’s a family favorite. Our little granddaughter has seen it so many times now that she can perform just about every song and even some dance moves by memory!

Tell us a little about your book:

Graphic designer Natalie Pearce faces the most difficult Christmas of her life. For almost a year, her mother has lain in a nursing home, the victim of a massive stroke, and Natalie blames herself for not being there when it happened. Worse, she’s allowed the monstrous load of guilt to drive a wedge between her and everyone she loves—most of all her husband, Daniel. Her marriage is on the verge of dissolving, her prayer life is suffering, and she’s one Christmas away from hitting rock bottom.

Junior-high basketball coach Daniel Pearce is at his wit’s end. Nothing he’s done has been able to break through the wall Natalie has erected between them. And their daughter Lissa’s adolescent rebellion isn’t helping matters. As Daniel’s hope reaches its lowest ebb, he wonders if this Christmas will spell the end of his marriage and the loss of everything he holds dear.

Where did you get the idea for ONE IMPERFECT CHRISTMAS?

The idea started percolating after watching several sentimental made-for-TV Christmas movies one year. I decided I wanted to write a Christmas story of my own and started playing the “what if” game. I imagined a woman who was dreading Christmas because of a family tragedy and how it might alienate her from the people she loved most.

Do you have a Christmas message for my readers?

Through all the hustle and bustle, all the shopping, parties, and family squabbles, through every joy and disappointment, never forget the “reason for the season”—Jesus Christ came to earth so that we might know the immeasurable love of God!

Website: http://www.myrajohnson.com/
Blog: http://www.myra.typepad.com/
Group blog: http://www.seekerville.blogspot.com/
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/MyraJohnsonAuthor

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Betsy St. Amant lives in Louisiana and is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers group. Betsy is multi-published through Steeple Hill and has been published in Christian Communicator magazine and Praise Reports: Inspiring Real Life Stories of How God Answers Prayer. One of her short stories, “Kickboxing or Chocolate‚” appears in a Tyndale compilation book, and she is also multi-published through The Wild Rose Press. Betsy has a BA in Christian Communications and regularly contributes articles to Crosswalk.com. She is a wife, mother, author, and an avid reader who enjoys sharing the wonders of God’s grace through her stories.

Learn more about Betsy by visiting her at http://www.betsystamant.com/ and http://www.betsy-ann.blogspot.com/

We’re focusing on Christmas all this month! What do you most associate with Christmas where you live?

I love how the city decorates! Every November, my city puts a bunch of wreaths on the light poles downtown, and they light up at night like fluffy green halos. That always serves as my first reminder that Christmas is coming! :-)

Do you have any special family traditions you do at Christmas time?

Even now that I’m married with a child of my own, we still all pile up in one or two cars with blankets and Starbucks coffee or hot chocolate and go “Christmas-light-lookin’”as we so dearly call it here in the South. :-) We drive around town and look at everyone’s houses lit up for Christmas. It’s a fun time of family togetherness and festive fun! Another tradition is sausage balls on Christmas morning at my mom’s house.

Do you
have a favorite Christmas Carol and if so do you know why?

I absolutely love O Holy Night. It puts me in the Christmas spirit and reminds me what Christmas is truly about – Jesus Christ’s birth!

If you could spend Christmas any way you could how would you celebrate?

I honestly don’t think I’d change anything from the way it is now – lots of family togetherness and food, fun, gifts, and stories. It’s just perfect. :-)

Do you have any special memories of Christmas?

One of my most memorable gifts was the year I was in junior high school and got a horse a month before Christmas – a real Paint horse I had begged for and begged for, for years. That Christmas, I woke up to a ton of new (and hand me down but new to me) tack for my beloved horse. Saddle, bridle, halter, blanket, brushes, buckets, etc. It was a horse-crazy girl’s dream come true!

What does a typical Christmas Eve and or Christmas Day look like for you?

Christmas Eve is as special to my family as Christmas Day. We always go to my grandparent’s house, just my immediate family, and do gifts with each other on that side. Then Christmas morning I do gifts with my husband and daughter at our house, then go to my parent’s for the rest of the day for lunch and those yummy sausage balls. :-) We usually grab a nap and head to my other grandparent’s house that night for a huge “Dirty Santa” game gift exchange with my extended family there. It’s always a fun and crazy time!

Do you have any Christmas movies or Christmas books you like to see or read each year?

I always end up watching The Christmas Story on TBS when they run their yearly marathon on Christmas Eve. I also have to watch Elf starring Will Ferrell. Hilarious movie!

Tell us a little about your book:

Mistletoe Prayers is a two-in-one Christmas novella compilation. Marta Perry and myself each contributed a Christmas novella for the compilation. My story is titled "The Gingerbread Season." Here’s the back cover blurb!

Allie James returns to her hometown in need of a holiday job. Never did she expect old boyfriend Jordan Walker to hire her as his secretary! Years ago Jordan shredded her heart like wrapping paper. Now he must convince Allie that all he wants for Christmas is her love.

Where did you get the idea for THE GINGERBREAD SEASON?

My publisher actually contacted me and asked me to write a Christmas novella for the compilation. Of course I said yes, and I brainstormed with my best friend. I knew I wanted the hero and heroine to have been high school sweethearts, and I needed a way to bring them back together after years apart. We came up with the idea for a story of community renewal and well, the rest is history. :-)

Do you have a Christmas message for my readers?


I think each holiday season, it’s easy to get caught up in the stress of shopping and lists and budgets, and forget the true meaning of Christmas—the birth of Jesus Christ which led to His offer of salvation. That’s what it all boils down to! Gifts are fun and family time is important, but if we go through the season without spending time with Jesus, we’ve missed the entire point.
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Betsy is giving away a copy of her book, Mistletoe Prayers. Be sure to stop by The Borrowed Book on Friday for your chance to win!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Another year is wrapping up. Reflections of the year 2010 will abound and be posted everywhere you look. Tech sites will review the emergence of the tablet computer, while celeb sites will regurgitate every divorce and birth, award and embarrassing moment. And let's not forget the Best and Worst of 2010 articles that will abound in all manner of magazines.

For me, I'm more interested in the spiritual side. What have I learned? What area has God revealed to me in 2010 that needs tending? Is my faith stronger, or is it waving goodbye to 2010 feeling bruised and confused?

This Wednesday, over at the Heartsong Author blog, I am publishing an article that has taken me nigh on to eighteen years to write. It is both my confession and a very painful memory. Though I didn't go into nearly the detail I would have liked, I felt the need to share my story in hopes someone might take the message to heart. Perhaps this, then, is part of my New Years Resolution. To take down the guard around my heart and pour more of my own life's lessons into my stories. Not because my life is anything special, but the events and circumstances, tragedies and triumphs, are all things He has lined my path with not so I can hide them in a closet, but so I can give voice to the testimony of a lesson learned.

I welcome you to share what spiritual lesson you have learned this year. Perhaps by sharing you will encourage someone else that they are not alone, or give them renewed strength to keep fighting, helping to ease their journey into 2011.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Just in case you haven't already seen this...



May you carry the message of Christmas with you throughout the New Year. God's blessings to you and yours from all of us here at The Borrowed Book.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

My husband has given me many nice gifts over the years, the best one being a tiny dog that fit into the palm of my hand. The first time I laid on eyes on him I proclaimed, “Max is here!”

And just like that, he was Max.

Max has proved to be a lot of things over the years, loyal buddy, compassionate friend. Not once has he failed to forgive my every fault. In his eyes, I am perfect. Best of all, Max has given me one very special gift: his undying love. From the depths of his heart, he showers me with his affection.

All the more reason to be sad that I won’t be spending Christmas with him.

Every year, this displaced Yankee travels over the river and through the. . .terminal, to grandmother’s house. Max seemed to sense my sadness as we packed our things and got ready to go. He sulked through the house, head lowered, depressed to think that we would go through the entire holiday without him.

Which got me to thinking. There’s been such an uproar this year about the use of Happy Holidays over Merry CHRISTmas. It made me aware that many people with cross jewelry around their necks or tattooed on their forearms would spend Christmas without Jesus. Good people. Kind people. But lost people.

Which is why, of all the gifts I will receive this Christmas, I am most thankful for the one I do not deserve. God’s most precious gift, the shining example of His undying love, was given to me years before I drew my first breath. In His sovereignty, God looked down from heaven and had compassion on me. Without reservation, He gave me His son. Without stipulation, He showers me with His affection. And I am so humbled.

Best of all, He offers the same gift to you.


Luke 2:1-20 (New International Version)

The Birth of Jesus

1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to his own town to register.

4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

The Shepherds and the Angels

8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ[a] the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

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

Lisa Nelson - Cowboy Christmas by Mary Connealy

Christina - A Door County Christmas by Becky Melby, Cynthia Ruchti, Eileen Key, and Rachael Phillips

Amber S. - Christmas Love at Lake Tahoe by Lena Nelson Dooley, Jeanie Smith Cash, Jean Kincaid, and Jeri Odell

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, Mary Connealy, Becky Melby, Chythia Ruchti, Eileen Key, Rachael Phillips, Lena Nelson Dooley, Jeanie Smith Cash, Jean Kincaid, and Jeri Odell, for your generosity in providing books!

Friday, December 24, 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:

Cowboy Christmas by Mary Connealy ~ Get ready for a fun and suspenseful Christmastime romance. Trouble follows singer Annette Talbot to Wyoming—and rancher Elijah Walker finds himself directly in its path. Though still wounded by the betrayal of his ex-fiancée, Elijah finds himself attracted to the secretive singer. When it appears Annie is a threat to his mother’s life, Elijah must decide if Annie’s deep faith and love of God is genuine or if it’s all just a ruse. He decides to trust her—until he discovers she’s a wanted woman. As Christmas draws near, will Elijah respond to God’s gentle persuasion to find the truth before he loses Annie forever?

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A Door County Christmas by Becky Melby, Cynthia Ruchti, Eileen Key, and Rachael Phillips ~ Peer behind the closed doors of a Wisconsin tourist town gone dormant for the winter season. Watch as the drama and romance start to heat up—just as Lola the innkeeper promised her four single friends a year ago when she gifted them with her prayers and a Christmas cactus. Will each woman find love—along with cactus blooms—as promised?




Christmas Love at Lake Tahoe by Lena Nelson Dooley, Jeanie Smith Cash, Jean Kincaid, and Jeri Odell ~ Reserve time for romance in this inspirational Christmas collection where four college grads major in love at a Lake Tahoe lodge. After meeting a handsome paramedic, registered nurse Bethany Stillman discovers there are some wounds only God can heal. A cautious Scarlett McKaye is reluctant to risk her heart to a handsome daredevil who won t take no for an answer. Stephanie St. John is determined to spurn the advances of a manipulative businessman. Mikayla Christiansen s resolve for a male-free existence is threatened by a widowed forest ranger. Will love lodge in the hearts of these career-minded women?

Winners will be announced on Saturday, 12/25/10.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Annie hoarded her pay, pinching every penny, working her way home. Now she was almost there. One more leg to this centipede of a journey.

She climbed the steps of the stage. The familiar blackness that plagued her circled in. It always passed, but, until it did, the world swam around. She groped for the door frame and it wasn’t where it should be. Just when the darkness was deepest, the paper thin souls of her worn-out, toe pinching boots slipped. She fell backward with a little squeal of alarm.

She made a soft landing in someone’s strong arms.

“Excuse me. I’m so...” Her effort at good manners was ignored as she felt herself set upright. Then she was more or less tossed into the stagecoach.

Whoever was manhandling her climbed in behind her, steadying her at the same time he urged her forward. “Move across, Miss. There’re four of us riding.”

Annette’s head cleared and she found herself sprawled along one side of the stage. Weakly, she said, “I’m sorry.” She wrestled with her skirts and heard something rip. Her last good dress.

“Oh, no.” She made herself small in the corner of the seat and scrambled to inspect the damage. She tried not to let it upset her. She would repair it. This was nothing to get upset about.

She fingered the rend with shaking hands. It crossed the entire front of her skirt at knee level and drooped open to show her muslin petticoat. Fumbling to cover herself, it all caught up with her.

She broke down and cried.

“Oh, please,” an exasperated voice rumbled in her ear.

The voice tugged on something deep inside her. She used the strength of that voice to get ahold of herself. She knew it was the man who had caught her, because he’d never stopped touching her since she fell.

“Miss, don’t cry now. It’s not that bad.”

Another voice. Annie glanced across from her. A young man in an ill-fitting business suit, wearing thick round spectacles, smiled as he settled himself into his seat. He offered her a handkerchief.

Brokenly she whispered, “Thank you.” She didn’t take his hankie. She pulled her own out of her sleeve.

Dabbing her eyes, she noticed another man sitting beside the businessman. He was a cowboy with a heavy brown mustache that covered his mouth and hung down on the corners to his chin. His eyes were shaded by the brim of his white, trail-stained Stetson. He had the hard look of the west on him, which the businessman didn’t.

The cowboy touched the brim of his Stetson. “Miss.”

He didn’t smile. Something flickered in his eyes, something intense, almost fixating. She had to force herself to look away from him. When she did, she accidentally looked at the man beside her.

This time she couldn’t force herself to look away.

“So you tore your skirt. Better head back east where folks care about such things.” His voice was deep and smooth with a trace of roughness, like water rippling over stones.

The businessman gasped and she glanced at him. She could tell he wanted to speak in her defense, but he looked fearfully at the man beside her and held his tongue. A wise man perhaps but a coward none the less.

She looked back at the man beside her, and, for just a second, she was the untamed girl she’d been when she’d run wild on her father’s ranch. “What I remember about the west,” she said, “is that men spoke politely to women, or they didn’t speak at all.”

The businessman clasped his hands together in front of him. It might have been panic, but Annie got the impression the poor man was praying—probably to be miraculously transported somewhere far away before the shooting started.

But oddly, Annie wasn’t afraid. She’d taken the measure of the man beside her and knew she was safe, except maybe from his rude mouth. She caught herself holding back a smile and that’s the first she realized she wasn’t crying anymore.

“Better now?” Sparks of humor flashed in eyes as blue as the Montana sky.

“You did it on purpose.”

“Can’t stand tears, Miss. Had to step in.”

This time Annie couldn’t stop herself from smiling.

He wasn’t dressed like a cowboy, but everything except for the clothes, told her he was one. His skin was weathered from sunlight in the summer and windburn in the winter. His crisp, flat topped black hat and vested suit seemed like a costume, although he looked comfortable in them. He had eyes as blue as the Wyoming sky. He’d removed his hat and his hair was too long, as if finding time to cut it was just one thing too many. It was light brown and the ends were burned to blonde from hours in the sun.

“Wise of you.” She folded her hands in her lap and did her best to behave like the prim maiden the St. Louis boarding school had tried to convert her into. “I’m afraid I’m exhausted. I’ve been traveling a long time and, between facing this last, long stagecoach ride, falling on the step, and tearing a gaping hole in the last good skirt I own, I lost my composure. If you hadn’t been handy to insult me who knows how long I’d have spent embarrassing you?”

The man studied her with narrowed eyes.

She couldn’t imagine what a mess she must be. And she feared her cheeks were hollow from hunger and her grey-blue eyes—so light Annie thought they were spooky—were even more startling with dark circles under them from lack of sleep. Altogether, she was sure she made a very unfortunate picture.

“A woman who’d cry over a skirt doesn’t belong in Ranger Bluff.” His expression relaxed. His expression relaxed. With a quirk of amusement, Annie wondered if the man would go so far as to challenge her to a shootout—as a technique for keeping her tears under control. “I doubt you’ll survive a week.”

“Really, sir," —Annie folded her hands in her lap and sassed him right back— "although it was most kind of you to insult me out of my tears, you can stop now. I’m drowning in your charity.”

The man smiled.

She had the impression his face wanted to crack from being bent in an unfamiliar direction. She found herself eagerly awaiting his next insult.
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Mary is giving away a copy of her book Cowboy Christmas. Be sure to stop by The Borrowed Book on Friday for your chance to win!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mary Connealy writes romantic comedy with cowboys. She is a Carol Award Winner for today's featured book Cowboy Christmas and a Christy Award and IRCC Finalist. She is the author of the Lassoed in Texas series, the Montana Marriages series and a new series—Sophie's Daughters, has begun with Doctor in Petticoats and Wrangler in Petticoats. Book #3 in this series, Sharpshooter in Petticoats is the grand finale that brings in characters from all three series in an explosive conclusion.

Sophie McClellen from Petticoat Ranch has her daughters all grown up now. You didn’t think they'd be quiet little things did you?

Find Mary online at:
Seekerville
Petticoats & Pistols
My Blog
My Website

Welcome, Mary! We’re focusing on Christmas all this month. What do you most associate with Christmas where you live?

Family. Mine, my husbands, our own children. All of the gifts and food is incidental to being with family. We have so much fun. I think it's wonderful that the birth of Christ is the center of the most joyful time of the year.

Do you have any special family traditions you do at Christmas time?

For years my husband's family gathered on Christmas Eve. His dad is gone now and his mom isn't up to holding a big party. So my husband and I have taken over the tradition with our own children. Those Christmas Eve gatherings are precious.

Do you have a favorite Christmas Carol and if so do you know why?

I wrote the Sunday School Christmas Program and directed it for years at my church and I always loved O Come All Ye Faithful. I had a hard time coming up with a better beginning to each Christmas program. Such a great call to worship with a Christmas theme.

If you could spend Christmas any way you could how would you celebrate?

With family. I figured out before my oldest daughter grew up that any time I could get my four girls together—with all their activities making claims on their time—would be precious and I've never forgotten it.

Do you have any special memories of Christmas?

My own family was huge and poor. That sound kind of sad but it wasn't. We didn't really know we were poor, it's only looking back that I realize how completely we had no luxuries. So Christmas should have been a downer. But we just made a party out of it. We'd get a couple really small gifts and we'd just revel in them. Play like crazy, appreciating small things because we had nothing big to compare it too. Christmas morning always started ridiculously early. My poor parents probably barely got to bed when the kids would get up and find out Santa Claus had been there. We'd get up and just dive on the tree. It was a riot. Probably almost literally.

What does a typical Christmas Eve and or Christmas Day look like for you?

Well, we have to do a lot of shifting around. I love to get my own children together for Christmas Eve and try to just have them with me, without the huge family gathering my family always has. But I've got two married daughters now so they need to take turns with their husband's families. We keep it flexible, have fun with whoever can come and while that makes it so we don't have rigid traditions, we manage to find joy in whoever is close by.

Do you have any Christmas movies or Christmas books you like to see or read each year?

I love While You Were Sleeping. I think it's not only the best Christmas movie ever made but it's my favorite movie period. Last year for the first time I watched Nativity. It was wonderful. I'd like to have that be a family tradition. With all the girls (I have four daughters) grown and out of the house now, and out of college, we don't get long vacation breaks with them. So I can probably watch whatever I want. But no doubt I'll be doing it alone.

Tell us a little about your book:

A beautiful songstress on the run.

A distrustful cowboy who can't abandon a woman in need.

An evil man obsessed with controlling that stunning voice.

The brutal cold of the Rockies in winter.

A suspicious family risking everything to protect a singer with secrets.

One perfect chance for a star to lead two lonely people to true love. Cowboy Christmas.

Where did you get the idea for Cowboy Christmas?

Barbour Publishing asked me if I would like to try and Christmas romance. I jumped at the chance. I have always had this special love for really well done Christmas stories. They all have what I think of as a LINUS MOMENT. That moment in It's Christmas Charlie Brown, when Charlie Brown cries out, "Isn't there anyone who can tell me what Christmas is all about?"

And Linus reads the Christmas story from Luke.

All great Christmas stories have that. The Herdmans, in the Best Christmas Pageant Ever, bring a ham to the Baby Jesus and Imogene Herdman kneels beside the manger and cries. The Grinch's Heart grows three sizes. Sandra Bullock in While You Were Sleeping tells the whole family of the man she's just decided NOT to marry, that she was going to marry him because she'd been so lonely for so long and she fell in love with his family. These are just sweet, precious moments. So I set out to write a book and capture that precious holy moment and to write it so well a reader's heart might grow three sizes.

As always though, with my books, mayhem soon ruled the day. It has a wonderful, holy, happy ending. But maybe the chaos and gunfire and fistfighting earlier on detract from that a little. But I can't seem to control that.

Do you have a Christmas message for my readers?

In the midst of the madness, mayhem, fun, food, gifts and gatherings of Christmas, I hope you'll take time, like Linus did, to think of the real meaning of Christmas. Let your heart grow three sizes even if it's already big. God bless you all and have a wonderful, blessed, merry Christmas.
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Be sure to stop by The Borrowed Book on Thursday for an excerpt from Cowboy Christmas by Mary Connealy.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Becky Melby has been married to Bill, her high school sweetheart, for 38 years. They have four married sons and eleven fabulous grandchildren. Becky has co-authored nine books for Heartsong Presents and a Barbour Publishing novella. She is currently working on a contemporary fiction series with a historical thread for Barbour. Her favorite pastimes are spoiling grandkids and taking trips with Bill in their RV or on their Honda Gold Wing. To find out more about Becky or her books, visit her at beckymelby.blogspot.com/ or http://www.melby-wienke.com/.


Cynthia Ruchti writes and produces the daily radio broadcast THE HEARTBEAT OF THE HOME and is editor of the ministry's magazine Backyard Friends. She is the 2009-2010 president of American Christian Fiction Writers. Her debut novel--THEY ALMOST ALWAYS COME HOME--released in spring of 2010 from Abingdon Press. Her second book--A DOOR COUNTY CHRISTMAS novella collection from Barbour Publishing--released in September 2010. She and her plot-tweaking husband live within 15 minutes of their three kids and five grandkids in the heart of Wisconsin.


Eileen Key is an ACFW success story. Since 2003, she has published numerous devotionals and articles as well as three books: Dog Gone, Barbour; Door County Christmas, Barbour: Forget-Me-Not, Avalon. Eileen’s humorous approach to life has carried her through tough times: including rejections! She lives near her three grown children and two amazing grandchildren (one more on the way). She is an active member of Grace-San Antonio Community Church. To Eileen, life is all about relationships: knowing people and showing them the way toward Christ. To learn more about Eileen, visit her at http://www.eileenkey.com/


Rachael, a church music director, began her unplanned writing career when the church secretary demanded newsletter articles at gunpoint. The pastors hated this task, but she loved writing humor based on Christian music and the Bible. Soon she began writing a local newspaper column and take writing classes at Bethel College, Mishawaka, IN, graduating with degrees in professional writing and English in 2005.

Her connections there resulted in her first biography in Barbour’s Heroes of the Faith series, Frederick Douglass. She has written three other Barbour biographies (Billy Sunday, Saint Augustine, and Well with My Soul (four hymn writers), as well as more than 400 newspaper columns, devotions, stories, and articles for magazines such as Today’s Christian Woman and Afictionado, as well as Pearl Girls, Guideposts, and other collections. She has co-authored a Barbour reference guide Women of the Bible with Carol Smith and Ellyn Sanna that will release in February 2011 and will publish a second Christmas novella in A Quaker Christmas in September 2011 with Ramona Cecil, Lauralee Bliss, and Claire Sanders. Her awards include the Erma Bombeck Global Award for humor and the 2007 Genesis award for Young Adult Fiction.

"Ride with Me into Christmas," Rachael’s novella in the A Door County Christmas collection, is her first published fiction. She and Steve, her high school sweetheart and husband of thirty-five years, did extensive research on their tandem bicycle for this story. They have not crashed—so far. They have three grown children and four-going-on-five perfect grandchildren.

Rachael loves to visit with her reader friends on-line at www.rachaelwrites.com, her Facebook author page, Twitter and Blog.

We’re focusing on Christmas all this month! What do you most associate with Christmas where you live?

Becky
: Snow! I love driving around at night looking at Christmas lights against a snow-covered landscape.

Cynthia: I live in the heart of Wisconsin, so we’re used to a fresh, moonlit snowfall, evenings by the fire, hot cocoa with lots of whipped cream, snowy mohair sweaters on the shoulders of the trees, and cancelled Christmas programs because of the ice storms and bad roads!

Eileen: The sparkling Riverwalk where trees are donned with beautiful lights. Great food including lots of tamales! My family! They live close by and I see them often.

Rachael: My husband and I have only lived here a year, so we’re welcoming new Christmas signposts. We live near Taylor University, a small Christian school, which bursts with Christmas concerts and celebrations that we enjoyed thoroughly last year. We’re also anticipating the friendly Christmas light competition between our two retired neighbors—one already has set up her display!

Do you have any special family traditions you do at Christmas time?

Becky: We stuff stockings for each of our four sons, their wives, and our eleven grandkids. The dollar store is always thrilled to see us coming!

Cynthia: I have a cassette tape we sometimes play (I need to get that out and convert it to digital!) of my daughter (now 35) when she was three, telling the Christmas story with the most wonderful voice inflections: “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in their fields and night. And LO!!!!!!!! The angel of the Lord came upon them…”

Eileen: When the kiddos were little, we baked a birthday cake for Jesus. We saved it for Christmas Eve, lit a candle in the middle and sang happy birthday. That reminds me, I could start doing that with grandkiddos!

Rachael: We love Christmas gatherings, dinner and gift exchanges at our house and usually attend a Christmas Eve service together. The years our children were teens and young adults, I wrote clues for a treasure hunt, and my husband scattered them throughout our house and yard for the kids to decipher together. These quests always ended on a spiritual note at our manger scene, with Christmas blessings—and checks—from Mom and Dad. Now, however, we have four preschool grandchildren. We’re learning to celebrate our Christmas chaos with joy—and gratitude when nobody ends up in the emergency room.

Do you have a favorite Christmas Carol and if so do you know why?

Becky: In every church I’ve attended, “Silent Night” is always the carol sung at the end of the Christmas Eve candlelight service. I love looking around at hundreds of flames and imagining them multiplied across the globe. Think how it looks from heaven! As a side note...when I was little I thought the song said, “sleep in heavenly peas.” I pictured Mary and baby Jesus sitting in a massive pile of green peas!

Cynthia: A modern Christmas carol that always moves me is “Mary, Did You Know?” I can’t write about it now without getting choked up, thinking of that new mama looking down into the face of God incarnate in her arms.

Eileen: “Silent Night” brings a catch to my throat whenever I hear it. Reminds me of my daddy. He loved Christmas!

Rachael: That’s like asking me if I have a favorite book or food—ALL of them! But I cannot picture Christmas without singing “Joy to the World.” In the Incarnation, Jesus invaded our dark planet, bringing His light. We can never be the same again.

If you could spend Christmas any way you could how would you celebrate?

Becky: Just the way we do—going to church, eating way too much, and filling the house with tons of kids and wads and wads of wrapping paper.

Cynthia: All my family gathered around me…taking naps. It gets pretty noisy around here with five small grandchildren. I would turn off the football games and listen to Christmas dulcimer or harp or acoustic guitar music. Then my wonderful sisters would show up with their families and we’d eat a fabulous array of Christmas hors d’oevers like little bitty lobster and avocado tacos, as we did one outrageous year.

Eileen: It would be fun to take my entire family to Door County and see the splendor of Lake Michigan surrounded by snow! What an awesome place.

Rachael: I fantasize about spending it in the Holy Land one year.

Do you have any special memories of Christmas?

Becky: In my high school years, I took part in a live nativity in front of our church. One night, as I stood on a bale of hay in an angel costume and furry white earmuffs, with a scratchy Christmas record playing in the background, it began to snow—huge flakes that drifted slowly down and landed on our eyelashes. Voices hushed in the still night air. It was an incredible “peace on earth” moment.

Cynthia: Many special Christmas memories…and most of them either involve music or children. One year, my oldest granddaughter arrived at the door and announced that she’d decided to give her heart to Jesus. I told her how happy I was and she answered, “Don’t get so excited, Grammie. I didn’t DO it. I just DECIDED.” It was her intention to wait to pray until we were all gathered together that day. It was a moment to remember.

Eileen: In 7th grade,my friends and I spent many Friday nights at the skating rink. I wasn’t fond of poking my toes in rented skates, but had no choice. Until Christmas Day. A new pair of white skates including blue pompoms. What a surprise!

Rachael: When my parents were missionaries in Mexico, we celebrated Christmas with a decorated thorn tree and homemade presents. My mother made clothes for my doll, Julie. Our little church had a piñata for the neighborhood children, and my parents rejoiced when the two poorest boys got top prizes—two big bags of candy (at five years of age, I thought my mom and dad should have routed for me!). My older brother received new shoes from a missionary barrel, and he gave his old ones to a shivering boy so overwhelmed with his good fortune that he stopped every few steps to look at his new Christmas shoes.

What does a typical Christmas Eve and or Christmas Day look like for you?

Becky: There is something very fishy about our Christmas Eve menu. Oyster stew was a family tradition I brought into our marriage. Later we added clam chowder. All night we graze on delicacies like crab dib, herring, and smoked salmon. Our daughters-in-law have added some new traditions—one makes a mean éclair ring, and the ones who don’t relish fish fare run out for Chinese take-out. After we’ve had more than our fill, we read the Christmas story, open stockings, and then gifts. At eleven o’clock, some of us head out for the midnight service. Now that our boys are married, they spend Christmas Day with their in-laws and my husband and I usually have a quiet, relaxing day filled with wonderful things like napping and nibbling leftovers.

Cynthia: Did I mention the football games? But there’s also lots of love and fun and food. We make quite a mess opening presents, and we wait for each person to open one at a time. As the family has grown and the bank account has shrunk, we’re spending more time focused on each other and conversation than on the mess-making.

Eileen: Christmas Eve is quiet now. My children are grown and are often with the in-laws. I usually camp out with my best friend, Caron, for her enchilada and tamale dinner. Christmas Day=hectic! The whole gang gathers at my daughter’s where we cook, eat, laugh, open too many presents and spend the day in fellowship.

Rachael: Fun and busy!! Since our house handles the crowd best, we have hosted five generations coming from four different states. Whoever makes it by Christmas Eve worships at the service with us. My husband and I usually sing in the choir—what a joy and privilege to worship Jesus on the eve of His birthday! The kids and babies are up early (and occasionally, all night) to greet Christmas. Before breakfast, we share the stockings I stuffed the night before, then have breakfast before the gift exchange under the tree. Depending on when everyone can arrive, we enjoy the traditional turkey dinner. My mother-in-law, bless her, still makes the pies and brings Christmas cookies! It’s a crazy day of playing with new toys and games, taking pictures, diapering and attempting naps, singing together, eating non-stop, and sharing each others’ lives, since geography keeps us apart much of the year. I love it, and I believe Jesus does, too. But He recovers from the party much faster than I do!

Do you have any Christmas movies or Christmas books you like to see or read each year?

Becky: “White Christmas” is a must.

Cynthia: “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” always makes me smile and cry.

Eileen: “It’s A Wonderful Life.” I’ve never missed a year! And I cry when Clarence gets his wings!

Rachael: I try to study the biblical Christmas story from a fresh angle every year. If I can grab a few moments, I read Dickens’ Christmas Carol or John Grisham’s Skipping Christmas.
I love it when my girls, mother-in-law and I watch While You Were Sleeping. My husband’s 90-plus grandmother enjoyed it, too, before she became too feeble to join us. And I’m addicted to White Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life, and Christmas Story every holiday season.

Tell us a little about your book:

Becky: The main character, Jillian Galloway, thinks she’s heading to Door county to enjoy the fall colors and use her advertising skills to help promote her uncle’s dinner theater. When she arrives, she finds the theater closed for the season thanks to a leaky roof and missing staff and money. She’s determined to rescue the theater in time for Christmas, but a cast of oddball actors challenge her optimism and the only person who can help her save the day is a handsome and mysterious Brazilian she’s been warned not to trust.

Cynthia: A DOOR COUNTY CHRISTMAS is a novella compilation with good friends Rachael Phillips, Eileen Key, and Becky Melby. It’s set in charming Door County, Wisconsin, which is the peninsula thumb on Wisconsin’s mitten. It seemed the perfect setting for four romantic comedies. Each of us centered our story in one of the small tourist villages along the shoreline. My character’s story takes place in Egg Harbor. Amanda Brooks escapes Chicago, hoping for a quiet getaway. In one jaw-dropping moment, she’s drafted into managing The Heart’s Harbor Inn and its legendary Christmas Tea. Quirky guests, a bare-bones budget, and the innkeeper’s exasperating son make her wonder if Christmas and love have anything in common.

Eileen: Door County Christmas is a romantic comedy novella with four unique tales of love and laughter. Door County, Wisconsin is a beautiful area of small towns dotting the peninsula, each with their own flavor. A Victorian inn and a Christmas cactus tie the romances together.

Rachael: An offbeat innkeeper offers Joanna Flick a Christmas cactus, promising the flowerless plant—and hope—will bloom. A recent widow, Joanna can’t believe it. But new neighbor Paul Sorenson, a fifty-something flannel-shirt fanatic with a bad haircut, shares Joanna’s passion for bicycling through gorgeous Door County, Wisconsin, landscapes and faith in the One who created them. Will love flower this bleak winter, or will their Grinch-y grown children nip their Christmas romance in the bud?

Where did you get the idea for your book?

Becky (Christmas Crazy): Door County is known for the arts, so using a comedy dinner theater as the core setting for the story seemed fitting. After assembling a cast of unique characters, it was just a matter of creating obstacles for them to overcome.

Cynthia (The Heart’s Harbor): Becky Melby and I live in Wisconsin, though many hours apart. We were pleasantly surprised to discover that we both consider Door County one of our favorite getaway destinations. We invited Eileen and Rachael to come experience it for themselves on a research trip last fall, introducing Texan Eileen to the true meaning of the word COLD. My story—The Heart’s Harbor—had lived in my heart and computer files for a very long time, but needed complete reworking to incorporate how much I’d learned since then and turn it from a simple romance into romantic comedy.

Eileen (My Heart Still Beats): Cynthia Ruchti enticed me to join the group with stories of the scenic area. Once I spotted Ephraim, I was hooked. I did explain to my co-authors I’d never spent time up north and that morphed into a research trip. What a fun experience. I couldn’t fathom snow plows and icicles the size of my arm until I saw pictures and chatted with residents. (and sampled some cherry desserts!) I have such admiration for those who shovel their way to work during the winter months.

Rachael (Ride With Me Into Christmas): Many romances include conflicts that involve parental resistance. I thought an interesting twist in a Christmas romance might involve opposition from grown children who do not want their widowed parents to remarry. My female and male lead characters in Ride with Me into Christmas share an interest in cycling, as my husband and I do, which worked well in Door County’s beautiful vacation setting. I also placed them on a tandem bicycle for the first time, and like us, they learned lack of communication and cooperation can mean a crash!

Do you have a Christmas message for my readers?

Becky: May your time of preparation for the holidays be a joy-filled journey rather than a stress-filled stretch of days. I pray that each one of you will take the time to savor the small moments that make up this wondrous season—candlelight reflected in a child’s eyes as he sings “Silent Night,” or holding hands around the Christmas dinner table as you thank God for the gift of His Son. Merry Christmas...unto us a Child is born!

Cynthia: It strikes me that every glitzy thing the world displays at Christmas is a poor imitation of the sparkle of the original Star that guided the shepherds and the wise men. Every gift—no matter how extravagant—is peanuts compared to the gift of God’s Son. I don’t want to be dazzled this year by elegant displays or fancy gift-wrapping, but by the wonder that Jesus became a babe, a child, a Master, a Savior, and a coming King.

Eileen: S L O W D O W N The hurry and scurry of getting ready for “the big day” often leaves us frazzled and broke. In the grand scheme of life, is it really worth it? Memories of relationships are so much more important, in my opinion, than grandmother’s perfect pumpkin pie. Jesus told stories, He spent one-on-one time with people. I believe that’s what He’d want us to do on His birthday!

Thank you, dear friend, Lisa. Merry Christmas!!

Rachael: In Isaiah 61:2-3, God assures us that He desires “to comfort all who mourn and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” Jesus’ gift exchange is like no other!

Merry Christmas to you, too, Eileen!

These wonderful ladies are giving away a copy of their book Door County Christmas. Be sure to stop by The Borrowed Book on Friday for your chance to win!

Monday, December 20, 2010


Award-winning author, Lena Nelson Dooley, has more than 675,000 books in print. She is a member of ACFW and president of the local chapter.

Lena loves James, her children, grandchildren, and great grandson. She loves chocolate, cherries, chocolate-covered cherries, and spending time with friends. Travel is always on her horizon. Cruising, Galveston, the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, Mexico. One day it will be Hawaii and Australia, but probably not at the same time. Helping other authors become published really floats her boat. And the high point of her day is receiving feedback from her readers, especially her fans. And she loves chocolate, especially dark chocolate.

We’re focusing on Christmas all this month! What do you most associate with Christmas where you live?

I love all the Christmas music and special programs at churches—candlelight services, cantatas, children’s programs. Last year and this year, our church did a musical adaptation of The Christmas Carol, where Mr. Scrooge meets the Lord.

Do you have any special family traditions you do at Christmas time?

Our family always gets together. Recently, it’s always been at our house. We share the original Christmas story and memories as well as have a time for eating, fellowship, and exchanging presents.

Also, in 1985, God told me to use my writing talent to bless others at Christmas. Almost every year since then, I’ve written a Christmas short story to use as a Christmas greeting. I have quite a collection now. We mail them out to the people we used to send Christmas cards. Some people have told me that they wait for the story to use with their family celebrations. I also give them out to friends who live nearby, as well as to strangers.

Do you have a favorite Christmas Carol and if so do you know why?

I love Christmas music. All the old carols and the new ones. One of my favorite recent Christmas song was written by a Christian comedian and singer Mark Lowry—“Mary Did You Know?” One year, my Christmas Story was “Mary, Meditations on the Birth of Her First Child.” So I really relate to the message in Mark’s song.

If you could spend Christmas any way you could how would you celebrate?

I wouldn’t change the way we celebrate, except I’d have my grandson, who is serving in Afghanistan, home for Christmas. The holiday has a hole in it when any of the family is missing.

Do you have any special memories of Christmas?

My family made a big deal of celebrating Christmas while I was growing up, so I have a large number of memories. We were poor, when I was a small child, but we always got oranges and nuts at Christmas. I love oranges and nuts to this day.

What does a typical Christmas Eve and or Christmas Day look like for you?

Our time of celebration depends on when my children are meeting with their in-laws. We used to do something on Christmas Eve, so they could do their other families on Christmas. One year, we had a Christmas breakfast with waffles and strawberries, egg dishes, etc., so we could all be together.

A tradition was born several years ago when I froze the leftover turkey and made sour cream enchiladas for Christmas. Now the grandchildren really look forward to the enchiladas. So Christmas dinner is always TexMex.

Do you have any Christmas movies or Christmas books you like to see or read each year?

I’ve always loved It’s a Wonderful Life. I must watch it once a year. A few years ago, The Nativity came out. I love it. Also The Christmas Box. These movies are part of our celebration.

And each year, I read all the new Christmas novels that Christian publishers release that year. I especially love the Barbour novella collections. Summerside Press has a good one I’ll Be Home for Christmas. And Love Inspired has several.

Tell us a little about your book:

Here is the back cover copy from Christmas Love at Lake Tahoe:

Love Hits the Slopes at Christmastime

Four young women, fresh out of college, pursue their careers at a new ski lodge at Lake Tahoe's Incline Village during the winter season.

Bethany Stillman's resolve to focus on her RN career falters when she meets paramedic Cole Beckman. Cole wonders how long it will be before Beth realizes he's to blame for crippling her grandfather. Can a Christmas miracle forge a path to love and forgiveness?

Social director Scarlett McKaye loves planning things down to the last detail. But what she didn't count on was having to spurn the bold advances of a reckless suitor. How far will daredevil Derrick Greene go to cancel Scarlett's reservations?

Stephanie St. John is determined to make a go of the time-share program at Snowbird Lodge. But Darrin Hart seems to be undermining her efforts, her confidence, and her reputation. Will misunderstanding be resolved, or will Stephanie succeed in business only to lose at love?

A wounded-at-the-heart Michaela Christianssen has chosen a male-free existence. But her friends and an eleven-year-old girl have other ideas. Widower Jonas Bradley is content with his life as father and forest ranger, until he finds himself pining for Michaela. What will it take to fell her oppositions to romance?

Will these four women hear wedding bells chime this Christmas?

Where did you get the idea for "NO THANK YOU," your story in CHRISTMAS LOVE AT LAKE TAHOE?

Often when I write a story in a collection like this, I look for a story that will be very different from everyone else’s. Since the collection is set at a winter resort, I chose to have my heroine not be a snow bunny. She wouldn’t even think of getting on “two boards and slide down a hill.” She really isn’t interested in a man who takes risks, like the black slopes, and of course, the hero uses those slopes.

One interesting note: My friend Zach Neese wrote the song “The More I Seek You,” and that song really fit my story. He graciously gave me permission to use the lyrics in the story.

Do you have a Christmas message for my readers?

Look beyond the commercialism, the hype, and the glitz, to the very heart of Christmas. The God Who loves us enough to sacrifice His Only Son so we could have complete communion with Him. That amazing concept will add such depth to your Christmas experience.

And remember, Jesus chose to submit himself to be born on earth, reared by parents who would make mistakes, just so He could redeem us.

What a concept!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Ever since Max was a puppy, he and our other dog, Newly, have had a strained relationship. The moment Max catches sight of Newly, he starts growling and barking, carrying on as though he’d like to tear Newly apart if he could. Newly, on the other hand, just ignores Max, choosing to behave as though he doesn’t even exist.

I watched them both with interest the other day as I washed the car. Max took turns running circles around the car and Newly, barking the entire time.

“Max, quit it,” I scolded. He quieted for a moment, then went back to nipping at Newly’s heels.

Fed up, I finally picked Max up and set him in the house. The moment Max was gone, Newly ran up to me and started rubbing his head against my leg, as if to thank me for getting rid of the pest.

And that’s when it occurred to me.

As Christians, we sometimes forget God’s command that we live in peace with one another. We nip and bark, uncaring about the grief our behavior causes the Lord. Worse, we think completely ignoring our brother or sister in Christ is somehow better. We even go to the tragic event of rejoicing silently to ourselves if the person we have a problem with leaves the church.

I wish I could say I have never been guilty of this terrible sin. Unfortunately, living in peace with the brethren is not always easy. That’s why I’m so grateful that I don’t have to attempt it alone.


Romans 12 (New International Version)

Living Sacrifices

1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

3For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

Love

9Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. 20On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

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

katy (legacy1992) - A Prairie Christmas Collection by Deborah Raney (and others)

Savannah Rose - Christmas Homecoming by Elizabeth Ludwig, Debby Mayne, Paige Winship Dooly and Elizabeth Goddard

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, Deborah Raney, for your generosity in providing books!

Friday, December 17, 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:

A Prairie Christmas Collection by Deborah Raney (and others) ~ Experience Christmas on the historical American Great Plains as retold by nine different multi-published authors, including Tracie Peterson and Deborah Raney. Follow pioneers, immigrants, and orphans through their adventures, heartaches, challenges, victories, and romances. You are sure to find more than one favorite among the nine holiday romances in this unique collection to warm your heart and inspire your faith.



Christmas Homecoming by Elizabeth Ludwig, Debby Mayne, Paige Winship Dooly and Elizabeth Goddard ~ Soar to new heights in this inspirational Christmas romance collection where four females encounter love amid the Colorado Rockies. A widowed grandmother, Carol Scheirer, is filled with angst, unsure that her family will accept the new man in her life. Wedding planner Noelle Evans wonders if the guy who once jilted her deserves a second chance. Old letters put writer Christmas Scheirer at odds with the guardian of her grandfather s estate. Missionary Holly Rivers finds she still has feelings for the man she left behind. Will mistletoe missives result in more than one Boulder bride?

Winners will be announced on Saturday, 12/18/10.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Elizabeth Ludwig’s first novel, Where the Truth Lies, which she co-authored with Janelle Mowery, was released in spring of 2008 from Heartsong Presents: Mysteries, an imprint of Barbour Publishing. This was followed in 2009 by “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” part of a Christmas anthology collection called Christmas Homecoming, also from Barbour Publishing.

In 2010, her first full-length historical novel Love Finds You in Calico, California was released from Summerside Press. Books two and three of Elizabeth’s mystery series, Died in the Wool, and Inn Plain Sight, respectively, are slated for release in 2011 from Barbour Publishing.

In 2008, Elizabeth was named the IWA Writer of the Year for her work on Where the Truth Lies. She is the owner and editor of the popular literary blog, The Borrowed Book, and she is an accomplished speaker and dramatist, having performed before audiences of 1500 and more. She works full time, and currently lives with her husband and two children in Texas.

To learn more about Elizabeth and her work, visit her at www.elizabethludwig.com.

We’re focusing on Christmas all this month! What do you most associate with Christmas where you live?

Christmas is a special time for me and my family. It’s always been our favorite time of year. The past few years, however, have been quite different from my experience growing up. Since moving to Texas, we’ve traded snow days for hurricanes and Yule logs for bon fires held outdoors. Still, I’d have to say the one thing that hasn’t changed is the annual Christmas parade and lighting of the Christmas tree downtown.

I love to go riding in the car late at night just to see the lights. My family and I pack up a thermos of hot chocolate (even if the weather is eighty degrees outside) and head out into the neighborhood to find the best lighting display of the season.

Do you have any special family traditions you do at Christmas time?
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Several years ago, my husband and I started a tradition with our kids that has become one of our favorite things about Christmas. We noticed that after weeks of anticipation, Christmas morning came and went in a mad rush of shredded paper and gifts swiftly examined and tossed aside.

To avoid this, we begin opening presents the week before Christmas. . .one gift per day, for the seven days leading up to Christmas morning. Instead of ripping open a present and tossing it aside, our kids savor each gift, and share it with their friends.

One year, my daughter wore a sweater she had received to go Christmas shopping. Later that night, we sat down as a family to enjoy a video that my son received. It’s our way of extending the joy of gift-giving, but also teaching our children to appreciate the the giver!

Do you have a favorite Christmas Carol and if so do you know why?

I love everything about the holidays, especially the music. Every year, our church puts on a cantata, but one song in particular stands out in my mind. It’s called Joseph’s Song, and it focuses on the unique position that Joseph found himself in as father to the Son of God. What a job! It’s a beautiful message, and a precious reminder that sometimes, God calls us to impossible circumstances, yet His plan is always perfect.

If you could spend Christmas anyway you could how would you celebrate?

No doubt…I would have all of family and extended family gathered about in a warm winter cabin with a gentle snow falling outside. Special guests would be those beloved family members who’ve gone on to be with the Father. I would really love to spend Christmas with them.

Do you have any special memories of Christmas?

Too many to count! LOL! How do I narrow down a lifetime of Christmases to a few I call special? Every year has had its particular moments, but all of them have been a celebration of the coming of my Savior.

I was reminded of that a few years ago when my mother-in-law passed away from cancer. Driving home to Texas after the funeral, I was listening to the CD of our church’s Christmas musical and thinking there was no way I wanted to participate that year, when my heart was so heavy. But then, a song called Joy, Joy came on, and I realized that Jesus had indeed come to bring joy. . .even in the very worst moments of despair.

I must have been a sight, I tell you, singing at the top of my lungs, the windows rolled down and tears streaming down my face, “Jesus has come to bring joy!”

What is a typical Christmas eve and or Christmas day for you.

Christmas Eve is so much fun. We leave the Christmas tree lit all day and a candle burning in the fireplace at night. Then, early in the morning, we get the kids up, open presents, cook a big breakfast, and settle in for some football. After that, it’s eat, sleep, eat, go to the movies, eat…you get the idea.

Do you have any Christmas movies or Christmas books you like to see or read each year?

There are a handful of movies I watch every year, no matter what. A Christmas Carol (the George C. Scott version), and It’s A Wonderful Life with James Stewart. I also like While You Were Sleeping because it makes me laugh, and A Charlie Brown Christmas. LOL! Bet I surprised you with that last one, huh? Still, it’s just not Christmas until Linus gives his famous speech.

Tell us a little about your book:

Soar to new heights in this inspirational Christmas romance collection where four females encounter love amid the Colorado Rockies. A widowed grandmother, Carol Scheirer, is filled with angst, unsure that her family will accept the new man in her life. Wedding planner Noelle Evans wonders if the guy who once jilted her deserves a second chance. Old letters put writer Christmas Scheirer at odds with the guardian of her grandfather s estate. Missionary Holly Rivers finds she still has feelings for the man she left behind. Will mistletoe missives result in more than one Boulder bride?

Where did you get the idea for Christmas Homecoming?

Brainstorming with such a talented group of writers is a wonderful thing. When we first started tossing around ideas for a Christmas anthology, ideas were flying fast and furious. Thankfully, Debby has a solid head on her shoulders and got our group to focus on one particular theme that flowed throughout all four stories. I firmly believe that it’s because of her guidance we were able to put together a proposal that snagged Barbour’s interest. Anyway, using Debby’s idea of a common thread, I created a character whose passion for publication had driven her away from home. It’s only when she learns that her grandmother intends to remarry that she dares return to face the people she loved, and who she’d desperately disappointed.

Do you have a Christmas message for The Borrowed Book readers?

Enjoy Christmas with all of your heart. This Holy Child, Jesus, was born for you. He lived and died for you. My prayer is that you will make Him yours this holiday season. May your season be blessed.
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Elizabeth is giving away a copy of her book, Christmas Homecoming. Be sure to stop by The Borrowed Book on Friday for your chance to win!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Deborah Raney is at work on her twentieth novel. Her books have won the RITA Award, HOLT Medallion, National Readers' Choice Award, Silver Angel, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. Her first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the highly acclaimed World Wide Pictures film of the same title. Her newest books, the Hanover Falls Novels, are from Howard/Simon & Schuster. Deb and her husband, Ken Raney, enjoy small-town life in Kansas. They are new empty nesters with four grown children and two precious grandsons, who all live much too far away.

We’re focusing on Christmas all this month! What do you most associate with Christmas where you live?

We always wished for a white Christmas, and often got snow at least a few days during the Christmas holidays. I also love being cozy in the house with all the lights off, and the Christmas tree twinkling and candles filling the house with a great smell.

Do you have any special family traditions you do at Christmas time?

We bake Christmas cookies, cut out snowflakes to decorate the windows, play board games and put together jigsaw puzzles, and play in the snow if we’re lucky enough to have a white Christmas. I hang mistletoe in the doorway between the laundry room and the kitchen every year, so there's a whole lot of kissing going on at our house around Christmas.

Do you have a favorite Christmas Carol and if so do you know why?

It’s one of the lesser known carols, but I’ve always thought "Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming" is a hauntingly beautiful song.

If you could spend Christmas any way you could, how would you celebrate?

Just the way we always do––with family gathered close, all tucked into our house for several days at a time. That’s especially precious, now that we’re empty-nesters and the kids all live hours away (or halfway across the world like our son in Germany).

Do you have any special memories of Christmas?

Too many to number! Christmas was always special growing up on the farm. One memory that always stands out for me is the Christmas Eve program at the little country church we attended. For many years, the front of the church was decorated with a huge mural that depicted the first Christmas night…that mural was painted from the vantage point of the shepherds, looking down from the hills onto the star shining over the stable. I could get lost in that picture and almost feel like I was present on that amazing night. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the way that made me feel.

What does a typical Christmas Eve and or Christmas Day look like for you?

With our kids spread all over the world now, Christmas is the one time everybody is home at the same time. We usually go “over the river and through the woods” to each of the grandparents’ houses for part of the day, but the rest of Christmas week is spent playing games, putting puzzles together, watching movies, decorating cookies, or playing in the snow if we’re lucky enough to have any. We’re all about anything that lets us spend time together. We love having everybody home!

Do you have any Christmas movies or Christmas books you like to see or read each year?

The Raney family has always loved the movie A Christmas Story ("I want an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle!" "No, you'll shoot your eye out.") Even better than watching the movie, is hearing Uncle Steve (my husband’s brother) tell the story in his own hilarious way!

Your Christmas Book is titled A Prairie Christmas Collection. Tell us a little about your novella in the book:

"A Circle of Blessings" is set in 1871 Dakota Territory on the campus of (fictional) St. Bartholomew’s Academy. James Collingwood meets Stella Bradford who is in need of his services as an English tutor. Recently graduated and acting as an aid in the English department, James agrees to help Stella, who sees no practicality in conjugating verbs or diagramming sentences. Instead of learning more about English, Stella falls in love. However, an indiscretion in James's past threatens to undermine their relationship.

Where did you get the idea for “A Circle of Blessings,” your story in the collection?

"A Circle of Blessings" is the only historical novella I ever wrote, but I thought it was a great vehicle for writing a story based on one of our family's Christmas traditions. (I can't tell you what that tradition is without giving away my story, so you'll just have to read it to find out!) It was also fun to use my grandmother's names for my characters in this novel.

Do you have a Christmas message for my readers?

It’s become a cliché, but I pray that in the mad rush to get everything ready for Christmas that none of us forget to remember the Reason for the season. He makes all the difference in the world!

LINKS:
http://www.deborahraney.com/
Purchase Deb’s Books here.
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Deborah is giving away a copy of her book A Prairie Christmas Collection. Be sure to stop by The Borrowed Book on Friday for your chance to win!

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