Monday, April 30, 2012

It's that time of year - the final push to get everything turned in and every exam completed and all the junk out of your dorm room. 

Well, maybe this no longer applies to you, but still does to me, so this is the post you're stuck with. You're welcome.

5 Writing Tips We Can Learn from the Finals Week Craze:
  • Time is limited. Nothing makes this hit home like a week full of deadlines and a never-ending to-do list! I don't really follow this very well all most of the time, but you can really do a lot when you sit down and focus. The #1K1HR (1,000 words in 1 hour) self-imposed sessions can sometimes help! And I bet once you're a published author and you have deadlines thrust upon you, you relive those finals-week days! (Is this true, fellow BB authors??)
  • Checklists are nice. It's so easy to forget all those little things you have to get done during the day. Make a checklist! It feels good to check things off. How does this fit with writing? Well, you can make a checklist for plot elements (etc.) you want to remember to include in your story, or you can make a weekly word-count checklist. Whatever you need it for! 
  • Sleep is good. This is coming from the queen of night owls, so take this advice with a grain of salt. But really, when I actually follow through on this advice, I think it does help to work on papers, assignments, and writing of any kind in the morning (or whenever) after a good night's sleep. It sounds good, anyway!
  • Perseverance is required. Don't give up! You can do it! Get those words on paper! (I think we can all use a little pep-talk, right? This week is going to go by too fast...!!!)
  • Friends and family are valuable. While work (or writing) is a priority, for sure, I think it's still important to make the time to be with those you love. That way you won't resent your work/writing time for stealing you away from your loved ones (and resentment does not bode well for focus and overall attitude).
All of this has been said before, so I'm not going to pretend that I'm being original. We all know that time goes by too fast, sleep is a necessity, and all of that. These are the tips everyone gives when it comes to writing or any task that has to be done, really. But it can't hurt to be reminded every once-in-a-while, right?

So now I'm off to bed to get some sleep, which will hopefully give me a good start to the first official day of finals week. See ya'll on the other side of graduation (Saturday)!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Happy Saturday, BB fans! Thanks to everyone who participated in our "puzzling" Friday giveaway! Keep all those facebook and Twitter notifications, coming! This week's winner is:
Sharon (smoore at tcq dot net) - Submerged by Dani Pettrey!
Congratulations, Sharon! Please use the button in the upper right side of this page to email me with your email address. Then, sit back and wait for your book to arrive. Thank you all so much for stopping by The Borrowed Book!

Friday, April 27, 2012

It's fun Friday at The Borrowed Book!

To enter:

Follow Us! Followers are automatically entered. Or...

Leave the time it took you to complete the puzzle in the comments section. Winners will be drawn from ALL of the times, so the person with the fastest time may not be the actual winner, but by leaving your time, you double your chances.

Want another entry? Tweet your puzzle time and mention The Borrowed Book, get another entry. RETWEET our Tweet, get two entries!

Post your puzzle time on BB's Facebook wall guessed it...get another entry!

Post it on your OWN Facebook wall and you could get as many as FIVE entries.

It's all a way to spread the word about the great giveaways on BB. So c'mon! Help us spread the word, and have a little fun at the same time. :-)

This week's puzzle feature is brought to you by Dani Pettrey and her newest release, Submerged.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I am happy to have Dani Pettrey as a guest on The Borrowed Book today. Dani  is a wfe, homeschooling mom and author. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves–the thrill of adventure, nail-biting suspense, the deepening of one’s faith and plenty of romance. She’s a huge fan of dark chocolate, is always in search of the best iced mocha and her dream is to one day own a little cottage on a remote stretch of beach. She and her husband reside in Maryland with their two teenage daughters.

Welcome, Dani. You have a book releasing May 1. Tell us the title and give a short blurb about the book.

Submerged is the first in my Alaskan Courage series.

A sabotaged plane. Two dead deep-water divers. One single clue.
Bailey Craig vowed never to set foot in Yancey, Alaska, again. She has a past, and a reputation--and Yancey's a town that doesn't forget. She's returned only to bury a loved one killed in the plane crash, but then dark evidence emerges and Bailey's own expertise becomes invaluable for the case.

Cole McKenna can face dangerous rescue dives. He can face the fear a murderer may be threatening his town. But facing the reality of Bailey's reappearance is a tougher challenge. She broke his heart... but doesn't seem to be the same girl who left Yancey ten years ago. And he's not the same guy she left behind.

Racing against the clock and a rising body count, Bailey and Cole must move beyond the hurts of their pasts to work together until the truth of what is hidden in the depths finally surfaces.

This is your first book. I’m always interested in how an author reacted when they received the call his/her first novel had sold. How did you react?

I was completely ecstatic. It was a combination of utter joy and a good dose of shock. I called all of my friends and family, and then my husband and our daughters went out for a celebration dinner.

Submerged is set in Yancey, Alaska. What made you choose a setting in that state?

I wanted a setting that worked well for adventure and suspense. Alaska is a gorgeous state full of adventurous possibilities, and there is an inherent risk of danger if you aren’t prepared properly.

In the reviews I’ve read, there is a hint that your heroine Bailey Craig has a past and a reputation in Yancey. What has happened in her past that caused this?

Well, I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s just say Bailey has bought into the Faulkner quote: ‘"The past is never dead. It's not even past." She has a lot in her past that she’s ashamed of and unfortunately she’s letting that hamper what God has in store for her future.

Then there’s your hero Cole McKenna. He sounds like a hero that readers will love. Tell us more about him.

After his parents died, Cole McKenna, the oldest of the McKenna clan, set aside his dreams to raise his siblings. The family co-owns and runs Last Frontier Adventures in Yancey, Alaska, and Cole is a dive rescue captain with the area’s volunteer dive rescue team. Submerged begins with his team’s search-and-rescue mission to recover a plane that has crashed into the ocean. And that crash ultimately brings the woman who broke his teenage heart back to town.

What do you want readers to take away from the story as they read Bailey and Cole’s story?

I hope readers will take away the truth that we find wholeness and fulfillment in Christ alone. Only He can take what is broken and make it whole again.

What are you working on now? Is there a sequel to Submerged?

Shattered, book two in my Alaskan Courage series, will be out in February. It is Piper McKenna’s story and I had a blast writing it.

What advice would you give to writers still waiting for the call that they’ve sold their first book?

Keep writing. Seriously. I know it sounds trite, but it’s true. Writing isn’t easy. It can be a lonely endeavor, but if you believe God has called you to write, if you have a passion for telling stories, keep at it. Never give up on that dream.

I'll add my endorsement to that idea, too. Never give up on your dreams. Thank you for stopping by today, Dani, and we wish you great success with the release of Submerged.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The tetanus vaccine was developed in 1924 by P. Descombey. Without vaccine or modern treatments, one in four people died from the disease. My mother and I suspect my great-great grandfather died from tetanus. He hit himself in the foot with an axe while working out in the fields. A month later he was dead.

Tetanus is caused by spores of the bacteria C. tetani  that live in the soil, saliva, dust and manure.  In inactive spore form, C. tetani may remain infectious in soil for more than 40 years.

Tetanus infection begins when the spores enter the body through an injury or wound. The spores release bacteria that spread and make a poison called tetanospasmin. This poison blocks nerve signals from the spinal cord to the muscles. This causes severe muscle spasms.

Tetanus symptoms often begin with mild spasms in the jaw muscles (lockjaw). Other symptoms include spasm of the vocal cords and/or spasms of the respiratory muscles causing interference with breathing. Complications include fractures of the spine or long bones from stiff muscles, elevated blood pressure, abnormal heartbeats, coma, generalized infection, clotting in the blood vessels of the lung, and pneumonia. Lack of oxygen caused by muscle spasms in the throat can lead to irreversible brain damage.

The time between infection and the first sign of symptoms is typically 7 to 21 days.

Here are treatments from the Ladies Indispensable Assistant (1850). Although some of the herbs in the elixir and powder have antibacterial and antispasmodic affects, I wonder how effective the treatments really were.


If the wound be occasioned by running a nail or something of the kind into the foot or hand, let the parts be well soaked in weak lye, and keep them bound up until the sore is quite healed; or,
When there is any appearance of the disease, let the patient take one table-spoonful of elixir (see below) in a wine-glassful of hot water. If this does not allay the symptoms, give the patient a thorough lobelia emetic. If the jaws become locked before the emetic is given, let the patient take half a table-spoonful of the tincture of lobelia seeds, and fill the spoon up with the elixir; and if the jaws are closed tight, put the above on one side of the mouth, and let it run down by the sides of the teeth and cheek; it will soon find way to the root of the tongue, will relax the muscles, and the mouth will open without any force; and in fifteen minutes repeat the does, giving, in half an hour afterwards, one tea-spoonful of vegetable powders (see below) in a tea-cupful of pennyroyal tea, this causes the patient to vomit, and to be relieved. If the spasms should continue, let this treatment be repeated.

This elixir is made by adding one pound of best gum myrrh, and three ounces of African cayenne, to one gallon of alcohol, or fourth of proof brandy. It may be taken from a tea-spoonful to a table-spoonful at a time, in water sweetened with molasses or sugar. It is efficacious in very many diseases used either internally or externally; especially in cold, coughs, consumption, pains in the bowels or stomach, rheumatism, inflammations, headache, toothache, cramp, cold feet, &c.

Vegetable Powder
Take one pound of bayberry bark, eight ounces of ginger, three ounces of cayenne, and four ounces of hemlock bark; mix and for a does, take one tea-spoonful.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Photographer Jennie Buchanan unknowingly captures a drug-cartel meeting on film. And now she has become a killer's next target. Even worse, her only protection from the danger that threatens her life is the man who threatens her heart. Dodging bullet almost seems safer than facing the feelings stirred up by seeing former FBI agent and ex-boyfriend Ethan Justice again. Ethan vows to safeguard Jennie from the deadly men on her trail. And for second chance at Jennie's love, he's willing to risk anything to expose the truth—about the drug smugglers, the past and the future together he still wants.

The Justice Agency: family and law enforcement go hand in hand.


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Monday, April 23, 2012

Over the past month or so I've listened to Legend by Marie Lu on audiobook, which I bought on iTunes. I just finished the book this past weekend. Now, I think discussing the book itself (a young adult, dystopian novel) could take up its own post - but today I'd rather discuss the format.

Two different narrators - one for the sections from the heroine's (June's) point of view, and one for the sections from the hero's (Day's) point of view. One word: brilliant!

My previous experience with an audiobook a couple of summers back was a little less than ideal, mostly because the book was abridged and it was rather distracting having the female narrator read all of the parts. But I've been on a YA/dystopian kick lately, so I wanted to try out another dystopian novel - and getting an audiobook seemed like a great idea, because then I could listen to it during meals or other times on my iPod without having to actually hold the book (but don't worry - I still love and generally prefer print books to any other format!).

Well, Legend made for an absolutely marvelous audiobook! There's plenty of action and suspense, and lots of tension between the hero and heroine - which is why it's so neat to get both of their perspectives in their "own" voices. Mariel Stern and Steven Kaplan are fabulous narrators. I loved their inflections and the pace of the reading. It really made for a unique reading experience, which leads me to wonder how I might have felt differently about the book had I just read it in print format.

This audiobook experience made me really want to give another audiobook a try. I do love the idea of being read to when I don't have enough hands or I don't want to focus my tired eyes on written pages - or when I simply want to hear a book read out loud and get a different perspective on the story. So I bought the audiobook version of Unearthly by Cynthia Hand. We'll see how it goes!

Question for you: What are your thoughts on audiobooks? Do you enjoy listening to them? Why or why not? How much of your opinion depends on the narrator(s)?

Oh, and do you know of any other engaging audiobooks with a female and a male narrator?? Really, it's such a great idea!

(Audiobook cover image from Barnes&

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Happy Saturday, BB fans! Thanks to everyone who participated in our "puzzling" Friday giveaway! Keep all those facebook and Twitter notifications, coming! This week's winner is:

marybelle - Rainbow's End by Valerie Comer!

Congratulations, marybelle! Please use the button in the upper right side of this page to email me with your email address. Then, sit back and wait for your book to arrive. Thank you all so much for stopping by The Borrowed Book!

Friday, April 20, 2012

It's fun Friday at The Borrowed Book!

To enter:

Follow Us! Followers are automatically entered. Or...

Leave the time it took you to complete the puzzle in the comments section. Winners will be drawn from ALL of the times, so the person with the fastest time may not be the actual winner, but by leaving your time, you double your chances.

Want another entry? Tweet your puzzle time and mention The Borrowed Book, get another entry. RETWEET our Tweet, get two entries!

Post your puzzle time on BB's Facebook wall guessed it...get another entry!

Post it on your OWN Facebook wall and you could get as many as FIVE entries.

It's all a way to spread the word about the great giveaways on BB. So c'mon! Help us spread the word, and have a little fun at the same time. :-)

This week's puzzle feature is brought to you by Valerie Comer and her newest release, Rainbow's End.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I'm delighted to have Valerie Comer as a guest on The Borrowed Book today. Valerie's life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary inspirational romance. Like many of her characters, Valerie grows much of her own food and is active in the local food movement as well as her church. She only hopes her imaginary friends enjoy their happily ever afters as much as she does hers, gardening and geocaching with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters. Check out her website and blog here.

You have a book that is releasing soon. Give us a short blurb about it.

Rainbow’s End is a 4-in-1 collection of contemporary romance novellas releasing from Barbour on May first. Eeek! That's nearly here. The four stories are set in Osage Beach, Missouri, and all the characters participate in the Rainbow's End Treasure Hunt. My novella, "Topaz Treasure," is the first of the four: Closet believer Lyssa Quinn steps out of her comfort zone to help coordinate the Rainbow’s End geocaching hunt her church is using as an outreach event. She’s not expecting her former humanities prof–young, handsome, anti-Christian Kirk Kennedy–to be at the Lake of the Ozarks at all, let along in a position to provide sponsorship to the treasure hunt. How can she trust someone who once shredded her best friend’s faith?

Rainbow’s End makes one think of a pot of gold. What significance does the title have to the stories in the book?

That's exactly what we wanted you to think of! The four novellas center around geocaching, which is basically an electronic treasure hunt. And what represents searching for treasure like the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow? We created a church outreach geocaching event for all our characters to participate in and called the event Rainbow's End, which also became the title of the collection.

Writing a novella anthology requires working closely with other authors. Did the four of you do a lot of brainstorming?

The basic concept of the treasure hunt that became the collection's foundation was hammered out by Nicole O'Dell and I in chat. When Cara Putman and Annalisa Daughety came on board, we fine-tuned the event somewhat to meet the needs of all our ideas. After that, we all created our own stories. I critiqued early drafts for the other three authors. I was the only one with any geocaching experience, so I paid particular attention to that aspect of their stories.

I only recently learned about geocaching as a hobby. For our readers who aren’t familiar with this pastime can you explain how it works?

Sure! Geocaching is one of the few ways technology can help people be active outdoors, which is one of the reasons I love it. You need either a smart phone with GPS (Global Positioning Systems) ability or a specific handheld GPS machine. Most people start by going to and putting in their zip code (postal code for us Canadians!) You'll be amazed how many caches already exist in your area. You enter the GPS coordinates on your handheld and when you arrive at the location, use the clues (provided on the website) to help you find the physical cache, where you sign in. As people get into the sport, they begin planting caches of their own and uploading the coordinates to the website so other people can seek out a new one.

What is your heroine searching for and what does she find?

My heroine is searching for boldness. She's never stood up publicly and said she was a Christian. To her, it's a huge step to go into her local businesses and seek sponsors for a church-run event. Imagine her shock and dismay when one of the first people she runs into is the young, handsome professor that shredded her best friend's faith in their college days! This was so not what she was looking for. I'm not sure I should tell you what she finds, but you can probably guess since it's a contemporary romance story!

What else are you working on right now?

My agent is shopping a couple of proposals for me at the moment, one for a completed novel in which a local food advocate falls for the fast food junkie next door. We also created a proposal (based on an editorial request) we're waiting to hear back from. In the meantime, I'm continuing to write that novel.

What advice would you give to authors still waiting to make that first sale?

First of all, be patient. If you don't enjoy the ride (ie: the actual writing and revising) you should quit, because there is no guaranteed destination at the end of the ride. And if you're having fun along the way, you'll be more apt to be patient as you wait for "the call." Secondly, keep writing. Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Have a book ready to send out to agents or editors? Great. Kick it out and write another one. Then another. Don't sit around waiting for that one perfect book to sell (see #1).

Thanks for having me, Sandra!

It was a pleasure having you today, Valerie. We'll expect to see you back soon with another book and happy geocaching!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I came across this cough remedy in a 1888 magazine. Wow. Talk about packing a punch!

Take equal quantities of hoarhound and liquorice root, make a strong decocotion, and to three-fourths of a pint of this liquid add the following ingredients: A drachm and a half of dried squills, half a drachm of camphor, half a drachm of pure opium, half a drachm of oil of anise-seed, half a drachm of bensoin, and two ounces of honey. Simmer in an earthen vessel until reduced to a half pint. When strained and cold add half a pint of good, old rum. Take any time the cough is troublesome.

Squill is also known as White Squill and Red Squill. The part used is the bulb, cut into slices, then dried and powdered. It is largely used for its stimulating, expectorant and diuretic properties, and is also a cardiac tonic, acting in a similar manner to digitalis, slowing and strengthening the pulse.

A drachm is a unit of apothecary weight equal to an eighth of an ounce or to 60 grains

Benzoin oil is extracted from resin of the Styrax Benzoin tree and belongs to the Stryracaceae family. It is also known as gum benzoin, luban jawi (meaning frankincense of Java), Benjamin or Styrax benzoin. Benzoin oil can be used for bronchitis, coughs, colds, wounds, acne, eczema, psoriasis, rheumatism, arthritis, scar tissue, circulation, nervous tension, stress, muscle pains, chilblains, rashes and mouth ulcers.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Mary Lenora Caine knows she is adopted. As she was growing up, her mother called her “God’s blessing.” But now that she’s gone, Mary no longer feels like any kind of blessing. Her father, in his grief, has cut himself off from the family, leaving the running of the home entirely in Mary’s hands.

As she nears her eighteenth birthday, Mary can’t see anything in her future but drudgery. Then her childhood friend Daniel begins to court her, promising her a life of riches and ease. But her fairy-tale dreams turn to dust when her family becomes too much for Daniel, and he abandons her in her time of deepest need.

Will Daniel come to grips with God’s plan for him? And if he does return, can Mary trust that this time he will really follow through?

Lena Nelson Dooley is an award-winning author with more than 690,000 books in print. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers—where she received the Mentor of the Year award in 2006 and three Carol award silver pins—DFW Ready Writers, and Christian Authors Network. She lives in Hurst, Texas, with her husband of over 47 years.

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Monday, April 16, 2012

The Christy Advisory Board is pleased to announce nominees in nine categories for the 2012 Christy Awards honoring Christian fiction. The 2012 Christy Award nominees are:


My Foolish Heart by Susan May Warren (Tyndale House Publishers)
Larkspur Cove by Lisa Wingate (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)
Wolfsbane by Ronie Kendig (Barbour Publishing)

The Amish Midwife by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould (Harvest House Publishers)
Dancing on Glass by Pamela Binnings Ewen (B&H Publishing Group)
The Touch by Randall Wallace (Tyndale House Publishers)

Dry as Rain by Gina Holmes (Tyndale House Publishers)
Promises to Keep by Ann Tatlock (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)
Words by Ginny Yttrup (B&H Publishing Group)

An Eye for Glory by Karl Bacon (Zondervan)
Southern Fried Sushi by Jennifer Rogers Spinola (Barbour Publishing)
Words by Ginny Yttrup (B&H Publishing Group)

Forsaking All Others by Allison Pittman (Tyndale House Publishers)
Mine is the Night by Liz Curtis Higgs (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)
Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

A Lasting Impression by Tamera Alexander (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)
The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)
To Die For by Sandra Byrd (Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster)

Over the Edge by Brandilyn Collins (B&H Publishing Group)
Pattern of Wounds by Mark Bertrand (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)
The Queen by Steven James (Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

The Chair by Jim Rubart (B&H Publishing Group)
Forbidden by Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee (Center Street, a division of Hachette Book Group USA)
Veiled Rose by Anne Elisabeth Stengl (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

How Huge the Night by Heather Munn and Lydia Munn (Kregel Publications)
Merchant’s Daughter by Melanie Dickerson (Zondervan)
Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren (David C Cook)

The Christy Awards are also online at:
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Saturday, April 14, 2012

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

This week's winner is:

Cindy W - Lady Anne's Quest by Susan Page Davis!

Congratulations,Cindy W ! Please use the button in the upper right side of this page to email me with your email address. Then, sit back and wait for your book to arrive.

Thank you all so much for stopping by The Borrowed Book!

Friday, April 13, 2012

It's fun Friday at The Borrowed Book!

To enter:

Follow Us! Followers are automatically entered. Or...

Leave the time it took you to complete the puzzle in the comments section. Winners will be drawn from ALL of the times, so the person with the fastest time may not be the actual winner, but by leaving your time, you double your chances.

Want another entry? Tweet your puzzle time and mention The Borrowed Book, get another entry. RETWEET our Tweet, get two entries!

Post your puzzle time on BB's Facebook wall guessed it...get another entry!

Post it on your OWN Facebook wall and you could get as many as FIVE entries.

It's all a way to spread the word about the great giveaways on BB. So c'mon! Help us spread the word, and have a little fun at the same time. :-)

This week's puzzle feature is brought to you by Susan Page Davis and her newest release, Lady Anne's Quest.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I'm thrilled to have my good friend Susan Page Davis on The Borrowed Book today. Susan grew up in Maine and lived there for years with her husband and six children that she homeschooled. In 2010 her husband retired from the newspaper business, and they moved to Kentucky. Susan has over 40 books published and is an award winning author. To find out more about her, check out her website.

Welcome, Susan. It's great to have you here today. You have just had the second book in your Prairie Dreams Series release. Tell us what it is and give us a blurb about it.

Lady Anne believes her prayers are answered and she’s at last found her long lost uncle. Unwilling to let her meet him on her own, Dan Adams accompanies her to her uncle’s   ranch. But unconvinced the man claiming to be her uncle is an impostor. They decide to continue the search for the new Earl of Stoneford.

But now the swindler is on their trail, hoping to steal Uncle David’s inheritance. Dan has his hands full trying to protect Anne, but he finds he must guard his heart just as carefully. Even though he’s good at keeping her safe, he knows he’ll never convince Anne to become a farmer’s wife in Oregon when she has her sights set on returning to her home in England. But as Anne’s quest becomes even more difficult—and dangerous—she begins to see Dan differently. Will she soon be envisioning a new life in America?

For those who didn’t read the first book, The Lady’s Maid, give us some background on this story.

Lady Anne’s father, Earl of Stoneford, died in 1855, leaving his title and estate to his younger brother. But David Stone has no idea. He had two older brothers and figured both of them would have sons. He went to America as a young man, and the family hasn’t heard from him in the last 10 years. Anne and her lady’s maid, Elise Finster, set out in book 1 and journey to Independence, where they join a wagon train bound for Oregon. Rumors say that’s where David has relocated. But along the way, they encounter unexpected obstacles—and Elise falls in love.

Your heroine Anne is a very determined character. What has happened in her life to make her such a strong woman?

Her mother died several years ago, and she is the only child of an earl. She has been trained to be tough when it counts. Even though she doesn’t have a lot of survival skills at the start of her journey, she is always willing to learn. And she believes her family and heritage are very important. She doesn’t want to see the Stoneford title go dormant.

Having had the opportunity to read some of this book before it was published, I fell in love with Dan. He is such a thoughtful man. Tell us more about this handsome hero and how he came to be with Anne on her quest.

Dan Adams and his brother, Hector, were among the wagon train company in book 1. They went to Oregon as farmers and are homesteading there. But Dan fell in love with Anne during their trip. He proposed, but she turned him down. He just couldn’t forget her after they separated in Oregon City. He and his brother work on their land for a few weeks, and finally Hector tells him he’s no good—he’s always daydreaming about Anne. He tells Dan to go find her and once more lay his heart at her feet. At the opening of Lady Anne’s Quest, Dan has seen that Anne and her maid have parted ways. He feels he might be of service as she continues her search for her uncle. That’s all Dan needs to bring him on board for the trek to Eugene and beyond.

Is there a third book in the series? If so, what is that story about?

Yes. In A Lady in the Making, you’ll see how it all turns out for David Stone, after he learns that he is expected to “man up” and accept the title of earl and go home to run the estate in England. But David has just started a new stagecoach line in Oregon with Dan, and frankly, he likes his new life. After some shilly-shallying, he sets out on his journey to England. To his surprise, he is a fellow passenger on a stagecoach with the last person on earth he wanted to see again.

What do you want readers to take away after reading Lady Anne’s Quest?

I hope they will have more than a lively adventure. This book shows how people—and attitudes—can change. It also shows God’s loving care of His children, even when they do ridiculous things.

What are you working on now?

I’m finishing up a book in the Miracles of Marble Cove series for Guideposts, but it looks like more westerns and more mystery are ahead for me.

You’ve been writing for a long time and have had wonderful successes with your books. What words of encouragement would you give to authors who are still trying to sell that first manuscript?

Work hard at the craft of writing. A good story is crucial, but your story won’t go far if it is not well written. Take time to learn the boring stuff—grammar, punctuation, and style.

Great advice, Susan. Thanks for stopping by and come back again when A Lady in the Making releases.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Two weeks ago I developed a chest cold, and because I sometimes struggle with asthma, that means three weeks of coughing misery. Fortunately I have medication that helps. But I started to wonder what people did before the advent of modern asthma inhalers and treatments.

Here’s one old remedy I found:

Take the root of skunk cabbage, and boil it until very strong, then strain off the liquor; to which add, one table-spoonful of garlic juice to one pint of the liquor, and simmer them together. Dose, one table-spoonful, three times a day. (1)

My first reaction was, “yuck!” Anyone who’s wandered around damp ground and stepped on skunk cabbage knows why it’s called skunk cabbage.  It has a fetid odor some people compare to that of a skunk. But when I investigated further, to my surprise I found quite a few references to its usefulness. (Not only that, but skunk cabbage extract is still available for sale.)

Among the references I found was this old one:

The root of this plant is a very strong antispasmodic, expectorant, and nervine. It is used with great success in asthma, croup, and hysterics. . .and also in tusis senales, or that kind of cough which frequently attends old persons without much expectoration. (2)

Modern skunk cabbage extracts claim those kinds of benefits and more.

Indians used skunk cabbage as an expectorant in asthma. They also used the roots or leaves for a poultice on sores and swellings, and to draw out splinters and thorns. The root hairs were used to stop hemorrhage.

In 1820 through 1882, the dried root stalk and roots of skunk cabbage were listed as an official drug in the USP (U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention).

Skunk cabbage extract by itself is beginning to look pretty good, but add to it garlic, and the above remedy looks better and better. Garlic has antioxidant properties and the ability to enhance the body’s immune cell activity. It also helps maintain healthy blood circulation. It can help lower blood pressure. Oh, and garlic is a good choice for killing and expelling parasites such as pin worms from the human body. (There’s a useful tidbit.)

The active component in garlic is the sulfur compound called allicin, which acts like an antibiotic to help the body inhibit the ability of germs to grow and reproduce. It's said that 1 milligram of allicin has a potency of 15 standard units of penicillin.

So I had to take a step back from my initial negative reaction to this old time asthma remedy. It may have been quite effective. The skunk cabbage extract might have helped the asthma attack itself, and the garlic would have prevented a possible infection. 

That doesn’t mean I’m going to gather skunk cabbage roots and whip up a mess of skunk cabbage asthma remedy. I can just imagine my husband's reaction to that concoction cooking on the stove. For now I’ll stick to my prescriptions.

(1)  Ladies Indispensable Assistant, F.J. Dow & Co., 139 Nassau Street, New York, 1850, pg. 12

(2)  The Domestic Physician, and Family Assistant, Marlin Gardner & Benjamin H. Aylworth, H. & E. Phinney of Cooperstown, New York, 1836, pg.34

Other references:

American Indian Medicine, Virgil J. Vogel, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Publishing Division of the University, 1970.

About Skunk Cabbage:

Extract for Sale:

Monday, April 9, 2012


To the FBI it's a cold case. To Kariss Walker it's a hot idea that could either reshape or ruin her writing career. And it's a burning mission to revisit an event she can never forget. Five years ago, an unidentified little girl was found starved to death in the woods behind a Houston apartment complex. A TV news anchor at the time, Kariss reported on the terrifying case. Today, as a New York Times bestselling author, Kariss intends to turn the unsolved mystery into a suspense novel. Enlisting the help of FBI Special Agent Tigo Harris, Kariss succeeds in getting the case reopened. But the search for the dead girl's missing mother yields a discovery that plunges the partners into a witch's brew of danger. The old crime lives on in more ways than either of them could ever imagine. Will Kariss's pursuit of her dream as a writer carry a deadly price tag? Drawing from a real-life cold case, bestselling novelist DiAnn Mills presents a taut collage of suspense, faith, and romance in The Chase.

Book Takeaway:

The reader sees that God is faithful and just.

Today let's dive into the not-so-distant past to take a look at some thoughts from C.S. Lewis regarding book reviewers/critics (quotes from An Experiment in Criticism by C.S. Lewis, 1961):

 The Toll on the Reviewer:

"I am thinking...of overworked reviewers, getting through novel after novel as quickly as they can, like a schoolboy doing his 'prep'. For such people reading often becomes mere work. The text before them comes to exist not in its own right but simply as raw material; clay out of which they can complete their tale of bricks.... it destroys appreciation." 

Oh, how I can relate! I've swum toward a whirlpool (of my own volition), and now I've been sent into a spin that leaves me exhausted and rather breathless at times. I love to read. I love getting free books to read. I love sharing my thoughts (generally) about what I read. But reviewing has become more work than enjoyment at times because of the vast amount of books I request. And from what I've seen in other blog posts, I don't think I'm the only book reviewer who has experienced this. (Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong!)

Do you think this "whirlpool syndrome" affects our ability to fully appreciate books and review them in the best way possible?
The Value of Reviews: 
 "The truth is not that we need the critics in order to enjoy the authors, but that we need the authors in order to enjoy the critics."  
"We love to hear how others enjoy what we enjoy ourselves. It is natural and wholly proper that we should especially enjoy hearing how a first-class mind responds to a very great work. That is why we read the great critics with interest (not often with any great measure of agreement). They are very good reading; as a help to the reading of others their value is, I believe, overestimated." 

"I remain, then, sceptical, not about the legitimacy or delightfulness, but about the necessity or utility of evaluative criticism." 
Wow! These observations/opinions kind of knock the wind out of me. I enjoy being a book reviewer. I love when readers tell me that my review was enjoyable to read and that it helped them. But how do reviews help? What is the purpose in writing them? Am I keeping others from reading books that I might not "like," but that might have value for other readers? Are my reviews only valuable to those who have read the books I'm referring to? In and of themselves, what is their intrinsic value?

In regards to this topic, I think it's obvious I have a lot more questions than set thoughts. I try to write "honest" reviews in the sense that they contain my honest opinion, while still balancing between what I liked about the books and what I didn't like about the books. I like to include what I thought the overall message/theme was and how that affected me. But is there something I'm missing? What does a "good" review entail and what is its purpose?

Do you enjoy reading book reviews? Do you think book reviews are only really enjoyable to those who have read the books being reviewed? Do you think book reviews can be dangerous in the sense that they might keep someone from reading a book they maybe should read?
To Review or Not to Review?
"I suggest that a ten or twenty years' abstinence both from the reading and from the writing of evaluative criticism might do us all a great deal of good."
C.S. Lewis' suggestion is a controversial one in my mind simply because I spend a lot of time reading books for review purposes. If I stopped reviewing books, I wouldn't have nearly the amount of reading options I now enjoy. (I might be at a higher risk of going broke, too, LOL!) I might miss out on books that I normally wouldn't have picked up or maybe even heard much about. I wouldn't have the pressure put on me to finish a book - which could be a good or bad thing.

But at the same time, would readers miss my book reviews? Do my reviews make a difference? And if they do, is that difference good or bad? If I took a break from reviewing books, I would have more time to catch up on the books I already own that I haven't yet read, and I might get to re-read more books, as well. I might even end up appreciating books more in a way that I have lost in the mad rush of a book reviewer's world.

If you are a book reviewer, what do you think about the suggestion of taking a break from reviewing? If you read book reviews, why do you read them - and do you think they're valuable?

Lots of food for thought and fuel for discussion today, but I think this is a topic that's worth being addressed by book bloggers. I'd love to have you answer some of the questions I ask or just add your two cents' worth wherever it fits! 

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