Sunday, March 31, 2013

In honor of Resurrection Sunday, an old favorite poem by Amy Carmichael, missionary to India ... enjoy.

The Shell

Upon the sandy shore an empty shell,
Beyond the shell infinity of sea;
O Savior, I am like that empty shell,
Thou art the Sea to me.

A sweeping wave rides up the shore, and lo,
Each dim recess the coiled shell within,
Is searched, is filled, is filled to overflow,
By water crystalline.

Not to the shell is any glory then:
All glory give we to the glorious sea.
And not to me is any glory when
Thou overflowest me.

Sweep over me Thy shell, as low I lie;
I yield me to the purpose of Thy will,
Sweep up, O conquering waves, and purify,
And with Thy fullness fill.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

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 Jenny (jennyjenjen92[at]gmail[dot]com) - Grave Consequences by Lisa T. Bergren! 

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

Friday, March 29, 2013

It's Fun Friday at The Borrowed Book!

To enter:

Leave the time it took you to complete the puzzle in the comments section as well as your email address for notifying you if you've won. 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 Lisa T. Bergren and her newest release, Grave Consequences.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

On Tuesday, we introduced you to Lisa Bergren, her armchair and actual travels, and her latest release, Grave Consequences. Today, we interview her about her writing life instead of her world tours.

Q: Hi, Lisa. It's great to have you with us today! With all those books to your credit, do you write full time, or do you work it in alongside a full-time job?
A: The day I got my first real job in publishing was also the same day I got an offer for my very first novel. It was a banner day. For a long time, I worked mostly full-time in publishing, and managed the juggle between writing and editing. But as I had babies, that got more complicated and difficult. In 2001, I went home and did quite a bit of freelance editing, but cut back on it as my writing schedule increased. The editing gigs are hard to schedule—it seems to come in batches, and often when I have my own deadlines.

More and more I’ve been craving consistency, a healthy rhythm of life, and less stress. I was living on the edge of burnout. Happily, last fall, we purchased a new business from an older friend, who had been making decorative ducks out of century-old fence posts ( My hubby has always been a wood sculptor, so it was an easy fit for us. Tim crafts the ducks and I spend the mornings finishing/shipping them, and listening to books on my iPod. In the afternoons, I head to the library to write. As of May, I’ll be completely done with freelance editing, leaving me free to concentrate on only my own books. The idea of it, fairly makes me giddy with excitement.

Q:  What do your kids think about your being a writer?
 A: I think they have moments where they think it’s cool. But mostly it just feels like a job to them—something that pays the bills but ties my attentions elsewhere.

That said, my children continually inspire me and my writing. I wrote God Gave Us You because I was longing for an I-Love-You bedtime book that incorporated God. I wrote my first YA series because my teen girls were reluctant readers and I wanted to give them an adventurous, romantic story.

Q:  How do you get your best ideas?
 A: Ideas constantly present themselves, if you’re attuned to your surroundings. People say interesting things or post evocative statements or insightful quotes on Facebook. You might overhear the seed of a fabulous story in the grocery store, or on the radio, or in conversation. Authors are constantly asking the “What if…” question, spinning out an idea, two, three levels and seeing if a story takes root.

Some examples of ideas that germinated into full-blown stories… I got the idea for Mercy Come Morning when my sister-in-law said she’d read about Alzheimer’s units that decorate for Christmas year-round, because patients who could no longer speak, could still sing entire Christmas carols. I got the idea for The Gifted series after reading The DaVinci Code and asking my pastor-cousin about bonafide biblical mysteries, and he told me about the lost letters of St. Paul. I got the idea for my Colorado Series when I learned that one-third of our residents here in Colorado Springs, at the turn of the century, had tuberculosis. The River of Time Series was born after I decided I wanted to write “paranormal” for my teens, but not about werewolves or vampires or witches. I wanted a fantastic element, so I thought of time travel (a long-held fantasy), and combined it with a favorite time period and locale—medieval Italy. It turned out to be a really fun combination. The Grand Tour series was born out of my longing to take a year’s sabbatical and go to travel Europe. When I learned that the wealthy used to send their children off to do so as part of their education…well, that just screamed that it had the makings of a great tale.

Q: Do you like to listen to music when you write?
 A: Definitely. Soundtracks without words are the best. And I just had my teenage daughter, who loves soundtrack music, help me separate my tracks into moods. So now I have tracks for adventure, danger, romance, intrigue, happiness, sorrow, and battle. Nothing puts me in the scene more than the right music. If you’re a writer, check out Liquid Cinema and Audiomachine as a place to start on iTunes. Favorite soundtracks of all time: Gladiator, Chronicles of Narnia, DaVinci Code, The Mission, Mists of Avalon, Braveheart, and The Passion of the Christ. I like the big, epic soundtracks. It makes me think I can write the big, epic novel. J

And who's to say you can't! Thanks, Lisa, for visiting us here at The Borrowed Book.

Lisa T. Bergren is the author of over forty books in many genres, from children’s picture books to adult nonfiction. Her most recent release is Grave Consequences, the second in her Grand Tour Series, following Glamorous Illusions. She lives in Colorado Springs with her husband and three children. You can find out more about her at,, and @LisaTBergren.

Stop back tomorrow, when we'll be giving away a free copy of Grave Consequences! 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Last night, as usual, we had Bonanza on the television. My husband was watching the show. I was sewing and listening. That’s because we’ve seen this particular episode at least three times in the last year, maybe more. I knew how it ended.

In this episode, Little Joe was arrested for murder, but at the end he was proved innocent in court—of course, because Little Joe always recovers from all illnesses/accidents/crimes/or other problems.  In this case he was saved when Hop Sing demonstrated how fingerprinting works and proved that Little Joe didn’t handle the murder weapon. Hop Sing claimed that people in his country had been using this technique for years.  

The first time I saw this particular Bonanza, I asked, “Are they for real?” Everyone knows fingerprints weren’t used until Dragnet. (Just kidding.) But seriously, I did wonder if the writers of the show made this up or if they had facts (and “Just the facts”) to back up their story.  

Out came my trusty laptop. I looked it up, and once again the writers of Bonanza didn’t disappoint me. China, in fact, had a lengthy history of using fingerprints (and hand prints).

The earliest example comes from a Chinese document entitled “The Volume of Crime Scene Investigation—Burglary”, from the Qin Dynasty (221 to 206 B.C.). The document contains a description of how hand prints were used as a type of evidence. Chinese officials pressed their fingerprints into clay seals to seal documents. And when the Chinese began to use silk and paper for documents, they used hand prints as a means to make contracts legal. In 851 BC, Abu Zayd Hasan, an Arab merchant in China, witnessed Chinese merchants using fingerprints to authenticate loans.

That means that though the story of Hop Sing, Little Joe, and the fingerprints was fiction, it could have happened. So. . .once again, Bonanza stands up to my research standards.  It’s just too bad that Little Joe never gets a girl. They all either die or move or run away with another man.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

There was a time when I wanted, more than anything, to yank my three kids out of school and move to Europe for a year, stopping for two weeks at a time to settle in, absorb the unique nuances of the town or city, and then move on to the next. We’d been bitten by the travel bug a couple of years earlier, when we went to Italy for the first time with friends, and then returned with our kids, and then returned again just the two of us for a romantic escape. (Errr, I mean…RESEARCH.) We treasured the opportunity to rent a villa or apartment, market every day, and walk everywhere, soaking up the sights, smells, sounds of each spot, getting to know her history, her people, her texture. We got so excited about this means of travel, we created a family travel web site,, dreaming of advertising sponsors who might finance said-dream-trip.

As I began to research for my Grand Tour Series a couple years ago, I took my girls to England and France, and the idea of our year away grew bigger in our minds. Unfortunately, the more we prayed about it, and the more we stared at our bank account, the farther away it seemed. Then the Lord brought in a new ministry aspect to our life that we got really jazzed about, and we were absolutely positive that He wasn’t sending us to Europe. He wanted us to stay right here at home.

So, last fall, I put that dream to bed (and our travel blog on hiatus) at the same time I was completing the first book in the Grand Tour Series. My story was about a Montana girl, swept up into a vastly different life, and eventually traveling throughout Europe. I found it ironic and yet sweet, that I’d had the chance to taste some of what my heroine would experience, and see some of where she was going, but not the whole-nine-yards kind of trip that she takes.

And yet, that’s the beauty of fiction, isn’t it? Through my research and outlining and writing, I have “visited.” As a reader, I love that in the pages of a book I might learn about a unique locale, and finish it feeling like I’d almost been there. Books like Liz Higgs’s lovely Scottish vistas, rich Southern fiction, the isles off Britain in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, or Texas in The Help are some examples that come to mind. I adore that added bonus as a reader, and hope to provide something of the sort in my books for my readers too. Just as we experience the highs and lows, challenges and victories, tragedies and triumphs of the main character, we also get to “tour” with him or her too.

For now, that’s just enough for me. Although I wouldn’t mind a return trip to the Southern coast of Italy, or Tahiti, or Croatia, or…Well, let’s face it. I’d like to go everywhere. But I can wait. I have a stack of good books that will give me a sweet little glimpse of far-away, fabulous places.

COME BACK FRIDAY for a chance to win a copy of Grave Consequences!

Lisa T. Bergren is the author of over forty books in many genres, from children’s picture books to adult nonfiction. Her most recent release is Grave Consequences, the second in her Grand Tour Series, following Glamorous Illusions. She lives in Colorado Springs with her husband and three children. You can find out more about her at,, and @LisaTBergren.

Monday, March 25, 2013

About the Book

"The Powerful, Epic Romance Continues, Book 2 in Lisa T. Begren’s Grand Tour series

For Cora Kensington, the journey of a lifetime takes unexpected twists. And her future—her very life—depends on the decisions she’ll make at each crossroad. As her European tour with her newfound family takes her through Austria, France, and Italy, an unseen enemy trails close behind. Meanwhile, a forbidden love continues to claim her heart, putting everyone’s plans in danger.

And as Cora stays one step ahead of it all, what might need the most protection is her own heart, torn between the dramatic pursuit of a dashing Frenchman and a man who has been quietly staking claim to her affections all along. Love has dangers all its own. She must escape the bonds of the past and discover the faith to make the right choices, as each one has grave consequences."

Amber's Review

With delight I rejoined the Kensington family on their tour across Europe in this second book in Bergren's engaging "Grand Tour" series. The first scene hit with the jolt of a train just starting its departure, and then I was right back into the rhythm of alternating setting descriptions, historical tidbits, family drama, and romance.

I love the adventure these characters manage to embrace at the various places they visit. It provides chances for intriguing plot twists and character growth, which makes for some entertaining read! And it's a lot of fun to be reminded of all the beautiful places in the world I have yet to see. Visiting them through the pages of a book is a nice, cheaper way to thrill the imagination, for the time being. *wink*

With each new place the Kensingtons visit, the risks seem to multiply and the danger to both body and heart seems to escalate. The journey just kept rolling along and holding my interest as the pages turned, and it all came to an end with another jolt. I'm ready to board again for the next leg of the trip!

Cora has a lot yet to learn about love and purpose, but she's wrestling with the concepts, and its enjoyable to see her open up, try new things, and work on understanding - and hopefully moving beyond - her mistakes. I'm eager to see where she ends up at the end of the next book, Glittering Promises! All aboard!

*With thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion, to be shared during the Litfuse Publicity blog tour.*

  • About a month ago I wrote a letter to the Kensington family - a group of characters in this book. If you missed that installment of the "May I Borrow From Your Book?" feature, you can find it HERE.
  • This review was originally published on Seasons of Humility as part of the Litfuse Publicity blog tour. You can find that post HERE if you're interested in reading more about the Litfuse contest, learning more about the author, or clicking on some links!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

It struck me this past Sunday at church that so much of what annoys, irritates, and generally drives me nuts about my life (my husband would say that isn’t a drive, but a short putt), would be fixed by my forgiving them ...

 For simply not being God.

There is only one God, and I am not Him. Remember last weekI am the Lord, and there is none other.

This doesn’t stop with what I expect God to do for me. It extends to what I expect my fellow fallen human beings to do for me, as well.

Let me say right up front that I’m not talking about making excuses for, or otherwise enabling, abuse. People who have experienced abuse need to be reminded of that—the people who do hurt to you deliberately, or neglect you deliberately, need to be held accountable by someone, even if not by you. I’m talking about the thousand small things that can happen in a day ...

Other women from Bible study who don’t call to find out why you missed.

Friends who seem so busy with their own lives, they don’t stop to ask how you are.

A co-worker who preens over some reward or bonus.

A husband who doesn’t kiss you goodnight, even after being away for weeks.

 I’m ashamed to say, so many times my kneejerk reaction to all this is to whine about it—at least internally. Sometimes, though, there are good reasons—again, I’m not talking excuses here for sinful behavior—for why people act the way they do.

In the case of women’s Bible study, there are two classes, morning and evening, and we’re a growing church. People come as they can. There’s no pressure put on anyone for any of it, and for that I’m glad. I’m sure most of them, if they think of me, just figure I’m in the other time slot.

And friends—yes, we are absolutely all so busy that some days we forget to stop and make eye contact with our own children, let alone anyone outside the four walls of our homes.

The co-worker—don’t we ourselves want the freedom to rejoice openly when God blesses us in this way? The Lord tells us to sorrow with those who do, and rejoice with those who do—there’s no caveat about being off the hook if our jealousy tells us the other person is really just bragging. Only God knows that person’s heart. (He is God, and I am not!)

The husband—in this case, mine was exhausted, sick, and barely remembered getting to bed. I was also sick and exhausted, and as I reminded myself, even more vulnerable than usual to perceived hurt. In other situations, it may be his pattern of showing affection. We all can be effusive in some ways but not others.

I have to constantly focus on the truth that while God intends the Body of Christ to serve and bless each other, there’s no one person, or group of people, who will not at some point fail us, who will always meet my needs. Sometimes God just has me wait. Sometimes He just wants me to look up and see that He is Lord, and that ultimately every need gets met at His hand.

It’s His hand we look to, then, not those of our husband, children, and friends. Love them we do, and rightly, but they are not God.

My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be moved.
In God is my salvation and my glory;
The rock of my strength,
And my refuge, is in God.
                (from Psalm 62, NKJV)

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