Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I hope nobody minds me writing about a morbid topic this week. As usual I've been scavenging the internet for interesting things. This week I found a bunch of coroner’s reports from the 1800s, which made my mind whirl with mystery plots. (I’ve also been doing some reading about herbs—good and bad.) So. . .I thought I’d share three of the coroner’s reports, along with some made up story plots (in italics) that would make good cozy mysteries. I’ve changed the names to protect the innocent—just in case one of the deceased’s distant relatives happens upon our blog.

6/14/1872 – George Bauer died a natural death, a heart attack. His wife Maggie was a saloon keeper -

Fictional version: Was it a natural death or did it just appear that way? Close friends suspected the latter, as did the coroner, but nothing could be proved. Besides, everyone felt sorry for poor Maggie, and those who turned out for George’s burial services only came to support her. Seems George was an overbearing bully whose drinking was out of hand. Maggie was the brunt of nightly invectives in front of her customers. One evening she’d had enough and added a bit of foxglove to Mr. Bauer’s evening meal.

9/1/1873 -- Bellows (no first name given) was found dead in bed. Died naturally. Cousin of Mrs Sarah A North. He lived with her.

Fictional version: Wealthy Sarah North had just buried her husband when Mr. Bellows showed up. He told people he was her cousin, but that was a lie. He was, in fact, an old crony of Sarah's deceased husband. Mr. Bellows had seen a picture of Sarah’s husband in the paper, and he’d come to town to blackmail her. Seems that Sarah’s dead husband had had left his past behind, and not in a good way. He’d left behind a wife, a couple of kids, and a jail sentence. Mr. Bellows was a lazy cuss, looking for easy living. He tried to frighten Sarah by threatening to expose her dead husband. He’d ruin her reputation since she’d never been legally married, and worse, her dead husband’s family would come and take all her money. Yes, Mr. Bellows thought he’d found a way to live out his life comfort. Unfortunately, he didn’t count on the fact that Mrs. North’s was totally aware of her dead husband's sins and she had quite a knowledge of herbs. She fixed him a particularly delicious dinner and plied him with liquor, then sent him to bed. The coroner never suspected that Mr. Bellow died from a dose of hemlock.

11/22/1850 -- Lizzie Benedict, wife of Frederick, was found dead on floor of their house, cause convulsions.

Fictional Version: Ah, poor Lizzie. All that family money, and she didn’t live to enjoy it. Sadder still, she’d only been married to charming and affable Fred Benedict for a few months. Everyone had been amazed that she married at all. Lizzie was a plain girl. Okay, she was downright ugly. She also suffered poor health, including occasional seizures. But folks said love was blind and Fred fell hard. After they married, Lizzie had so much to live for. Unfortunately, so did Fred. Good old Fred, with a girlfriend in the next state--Miss Penelope Carlton. She was a blonde beauty, ten years his junior. He wanted her in a bad way, but without money, her father wouldn’t approve. Industrious Freddie found a way to get that money. He did his homework in more ways than one. Lizzie was the perfect choice. He figured belladonna would cause her to seizure and die. He was right.  

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I’m a writer with a terrible secret. I’ve written more than 20 books and I have never shared this shameful fact with anyone. That secret? I can’t type. Really. If only I had taken Mr. Duffy’s Business Education/Typing Class at Hempfield Area Senior High School in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. But I didn’t—and have since been condemned to write all those hundreds of thousands of words using a mere five fingers—sometimes six, I think, but it’s hard to watch myself type and count at the same time.
And our school had just gotten brand new IBM Selectrics!
I know . . . the horror . . . the horror.
(I had to look that up. I wasn’t sure if it was horror or horrors. The wonderful Pandora’s box, this Internet device is.)
One question that I have been asked more than once—other than “Have any spare change?” is “Where do you get your ideas?
Now that I have become a best-selling author—I know—it was as much of a surprise to me as it was to you—I have another secret to share with you. It’s about good ideas for books. For only $29.95, I will send you the secret formula for developing truly wonderful, saleable ideas that the public will simply go crazy over.
(I wish I had written that book. Then I actually could retire to Palm Beach and play competitive shuffleboard.)
Here’s the secret: There is no secret. There is no magic formula. And what works for me . . . will ABSOLUTELY work for you. Just send me the $29.95!
Seriously . . . I get ideas all the time and I discard most of them very quickly. My advice to aspiring writers: Get a dog. I have a dog. A dog needs a long walk twice a day, morning and night. Both times are quiet. Leave the cell phone at home! Seriously. You will sound ridiculous talking with your agent while picking up dog droppings. Well . . . at least you will know how your agent sometimes feels.
But I digress. The idea for my previous book, The Dog That Talked to God came while I was walking the dog. All dog owners talk to their dogs. Every single one of them. And remember, I go out early and late when there are no witnesses. So I give my dog a voice so he can answer my questions. I started to wonder what it would be like if a dog could actually talk. Then I wondered who would really need a dog to talk to them? Someone in pain—someone who has suffered a loss. A widow. And the story snowballed from there.
For my most recent book, The Cat That God Sent . . . well, we happen to have an ill-tempered cat at home as well. You can’t take him for walks—but you can imagine what he’s thinking. Who might a cat deem as lost and hopeless? A pastor who has lost his faith. Yes. Perfect. And the story started there.
So the advice on ideas is this: Spin up lots of them. Don’t self-censure right away. But also—don’t fall so much in love with an idea that you can’t take advice. In the first draft of the Dog book, my dog character was too all-knowing. My editor said to make him more of a spiritual pilgrim. And she was dead-on. That advice changed the complexion of the dog—and made the story much, much better.
I have encountered writers who hold on too tightly. Soon enough, no one will offer advice because you defend your words too well. Not to say that you make every change ever suggested. Hopefully, you will recognize the good advice, from the chaff advice. Listen, smile, nod, and use discernment.
Another question I get is about plots.
Once I have the opening scene I also have the ending scene in mind. I don’t plot every detail out exactly, but I know the arc of the story. I know what will ultimately happen at the end. In my humble opinion, if you don’t know where you are going with a story, how will you know when you get there?
In my last 50 words, I will also tell you that you should write while listening to classical music, matching the scene to the music; never let writer’s block stop you—write something; don’t get all enamored over Facebook postings and Twitters and the rest—they just seem like you’re writing, but you’re not.
And keep trying. With the Dog book—and the Cat book—both my most successful books to date—I gave up trying to write for a genre—and wrote a story that I would have wanted to read.
So keep working. And believe in yourself.

Jim Kraus grew up in Western Pennsylvania and has spent the last twenty years as a vice president of a major Christian publishing house. He has written more than twenty books and novels, including the best-selling The Dog That Talked to God. He and his family live outside of Chicago with a sweet miniature Schnauzer and an ill-tempered Siberian cat named (of course) Petey. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Lena Goldfinch (my cover designer and self-publishing mentor) has just released a new YA fantasy romance novel! I had the pleasure of being one of the book's editors and putting the blog tour together. Read on to learn more about this captivating story and the tour...

About the Book

"Kita can meld song into stone. In a world with no written word, storytelling—the ability to meld (or magically impress) song into stone—is greatly honored. The village honors her master as their medicine man, but Kita knows he's secretly a sorcerer who practices black magic using drops of her blood. She fears he’ll use her beautiful gift for a killing spell, so she conceals it from him. Each day, his magic tightens around her neck like a rope. His spells blind the villagers, so they can’t see him for what he really is.

Not that anyone would want to help her. She was found in the forest as a baby and would have died if a village girl hadn't brought her home. But the villagers saw Kita's unusual coloring and decided she belonged to the mysterious tribe who lives in the forests of the volcano, a people feared for their mystical powers. So they fear her too. Now seventeen, she can barely admit her deepest longing: to know who she really is and where she belongs.

Then Pono, a young journeyman, arrives from the other side of the island. He's come to fulfill a pact between their villages: to escort a storyteller back to his village—a storyteller who'll be chosen at the great assembly. Finally, in Pono, Kita sees her one slim chance at freedom and she'll risk her life to take it.

A dark, twisty tale of sorcery, tummy-tingling romance, and adventure, inspired by the folklore of New Zealand's Māori people."

About the Author

"Lena lives in a scenic small town in Massachusetts with her husband, two kids, and a very spoiled Black Lab. She writes fiction for young adults, mostly light fantasy with a healthy dose of "sigh-worthy" romance. You can visit her online at"

Want More?
  • There's a sweet summer blog tour going on right now with an epic giveaway, great reviews, and cool interviews! Catch up on the posts and enter the giveaway at the blog tour page.
  • You can purchase the book in Kindle format for only $3.97 at Amazon!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

“There’s strong ... and then there’s Army strong.”

The old recruiting statement has rattled around in my head this past week, especially in reference to certain fireballs life has thrown my way. The shield of faith has seemed especially heavy on my arm, and several of the enemy’s darts have slipped through. The poison from their tips penetrates in a nanosecond, then seeps through my system ... numbing, paralyzing, spreading discouragement and outright despair.

I hear the whisper, You can’t fix this. You are never getting past this one.

I fear he’s right. Much of the damage this time was by my own hand, a decision that seemed reasonable in the moment but later turned out to be completely wrong by someone else’s perception.

In the backlash, I apologize, but I have no real defense. Nor can I “fix” the situation.

And honestly, whatever the circumstances, it just feels like warfare.

I think of that verse which talks about enduring hardness, like a good soldier. What does that mean, exactly? Surviving individual situations? Just be tough and “woman up”? And how to do that without becoming callous and impatient with the weaknesses of those around me?

A peek at my trusty Strong’s Concordance was illuminating. The word translated “hardness” in the good old King James is not the same word translated hardness, elsewhere. Everywhere else, it means hardness of heart ... fierce, callous, tough. But in Timothy, “endure hardness” means more literally, be afflicted ... suffer trouble.

What an amazing, and oddly comforting, thought ... that sometimes in the line of duty, we’re just going to suffer some trouble. Suffer affliction, even.

There’s no way around the hurt and the struggle ... nor should there be.

And that old prayer resurfaces ... dear Lord, make me strong enough for this.

Could it be that the sufferings, the afflictions, the trouble itself, are the spiritual workouts, the obstacle course that makes us fit for the battlefield?

It makes sense, of course. And then there are the times when we wonder, how much worse can it get? And yet—we know it can be worse.

In that moment of considering, I realize that even this situation is not irredeemable. This is not the end. Oh, I’m sore and bruised from this latest barrage, but once more I’ll strap on my boots, adjust my belt, straighten my helmet and rearrange my weapons. And then back up—to either march, or just stand, as God directs.

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6, NKJV)

Saturday, July 27, 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:

  Sheri - The Quarryman's Bride by Tracie Peterson.

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

Friday, July 26, 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 Tracie Peterson and her newest release, The Quarryman's Bride.

Click to Mix and Solve

Thursday, July 25, 2013

As a writer of mostly historical stories, I love the journey on which my research takes me.  I was fascinated by the granite quarry work that was done in Minnesota—especially in the 1800’s.  I was able to visit Quarry State Park near St. Cloud, Minnesota and get a first hand feel for the land and the quarry’s themselves.   I was able to visit the local museums and learn about historic quarrying techniques and speak with people who had actual knowledge of the old ways granite was quarried.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and I’ve found them to be absolutely critical to my work.  My husband is quite the photographer and as part of his help with the research, he also takes photos for me. On one of my trips to the St. Cloud area, we were able to get photos at Quarry State Park.  These are examples of the areas quarried and how with no one any longer pumping water from the quarry, they have filled and in some cases have become great swimming holes.

Other pictures include the equipment required.

This is a wonderful park and if you get a chance, and love a good walk in the woods, I highly suggest you visit it.  Here’s a website link.  

When I write a book, I find that visiting the area involved is an invaluable experience.  Even though we know the times have drastically altered the landscapes and people (most of the time), some of the best resources are available locally through museums, local records and oral histories. 

My husband Jim is a historian, so early on historical accuracy became important to me.  When I plot out a story, I like to get as much information as possible on the details of the time period and the occupations that I hope to include or events that I want to cover.  When researching for Quarryman’s Bride, I was fascinated by the quarry work to be sure,  but also the Scottish background boasted by many of the workers.  I love researching and find it to be one of the most rewarding aspects of the writing process.  For the reader, I hope it is also enjoyable.  Probably 90% of the information I learn will never go into the actual content of the book, but the knowledge for me as the writer helps me to bring the story alive.

Quarryman’s Bride also focuses on some difficult spiritual aspects.  How far should one go to honor their mother and father?  How do you forgive someone who doesn’t think they need to be forgiven?  How do you let go of the past and give the present over to God?  The spiritual battles within my stories are always ones that we face today.  Writing has always been a ministry for me and the spiritual education and encouragement the stories offer is given in hopes of uplifting the reader and bringing them closer to God.  I never think I have all the answers, but I try to point people back to the Bible, where I know the answers can be found.

Ultimately, I love the opportunity to share the blessings I’ve known in my life—through my faith in Jesus.  I also love to hear from you the reader and hope you will continue to visit my website and leave me messages.   

May God bless you in His love and give you peace.
Tracie Peterson

Come back tomorrow for a chance to win a copy of Quarryman's Bride!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

On May 2, 1878, at 7:10 p.m., a spark ignited flour dust in the Washburn A Mill in Minneapolis, causing an explosion that blew the concrete roof hundreds of feet in the air and leveled the seven and a-half story limestone building. Fourteen workers died instantly. The nearby Humboldt and Diamond Mills were flattened. Four more people were killed by the fire that engulfed one third of the city’s business district. The explosion broke windows as far away as St. Paul. Limestone blocks landed in yard eight blocks from the milling district.  

People from both towns poured into the streets. Some thought the world had ended. Others thought the cities had been jolted by an earthquake.

Here’s how one reporter described the event:

Flame and smoke in dense volumes leaped hundreds of feet heavenward, and the word went from lip to lip, almost with the rapidity of lightning, that the Washburn mill, which has long and justly been the pride of Minneapolis, had exploded and was destroyed … It was a night of horror in Minneapolis. – St. Paul Globe – May 4, 1878.

When Cadwallader C. Washburn–founder of General Mills and Governor of Wisconsin--heard the news, he took a train from Wisconsin to view the wreckage. He Initiated a fund for the families of those killed and injured by the explosion. He was one of the fund's most generous contributor. He also made sure displaced workers continued to work at other mills.

He made plans for an even bigger mill to be built on the remains of the old one. To prevent a similar disaster, he asked for a demonstration of a device that would collect the dust. Washburn eventually installed the device in all his mills. He also shared the innovation with his competitors, making the milling industry much safer.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I’m excited to share with you the release of Quarryman’s Bride.  I had so much fun researching for this series of independent books set in Minnesota during the late 1800’s and Quarryman’s Bride was definitely a favorite. 

Minnesota is so diverse in cultural heritages that I wanted each book to share a flavor of that blessing.  Quarryman’s Bride takes advantage of the fact that the Scottish were heavily involved in the quarry industry in Minnesota.  Because of this, I researched superstitions, traditions, recipes and crafts that the Scottish were known for.  What a great time that turned out to be.  With a heritage of my own in Scottish ancestors, I found a lot of interesting tidbits to include in the story.

Quarryman’s Bride deals with a young couple Emmalyne and Tavin who are just about to marry when tragedy strikes and Emmalyne’s father puts an end to their engagement. Emmalyne desires to honor her father and mother as the Bible says she should, but that means losing the love of her life.  Years later when the two are once again thrown together, they realize they are still very much in love.  The story deals with the obstacles they must overcome, while also weaving some intrigue surrounding the granite quarry where Tavin works.  In the end, the spiritual theme is all about learning to trust God, and forgive and love, even when we don’t feel like it or think the other person deserves it.  I hope the readers will enjoy!

Return Friday for a chance to win a copy of Tracie's latest release!

Tracie Peterson is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than eighty-five novels. Tracie also teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research. She and her family live in Montana.

Monday, July 22, 2013

About the Book (from Bethany House)

"Emmalyne Knox has always loved Tavin MacLachlan. But when tragedy strikes her family, Emmalyne's father declares she can no longer marry. Despite Tavin's pleas to defy the decision, Emmalyne refuses. In her act of obedience, she gives up the future she'd always dreamed of.

When Emmalyne's father returns to the quarry business years later, Tavin and Emmalyne meet again. And though circumstances have changed in both of their lives, they cannot deny the feelings that still exist. Can Emmalyne find a way to heal the decade-long wound that has fractured the two families...and change the hearts of those who stand in the way of true love?"

Amber's Review

Peterson's attention to detail and her sweet descriptions of the setting and characters can make this a pleasant read, especially for her loyal fans and those interested in a quiet story about changes of heart and a love that lasts through adversity. Her writing is smooth, and I appreciated that about The Quarryman's Bride

However, this was not a favorite of mine out of the books I've read by Peterson or out of the genre in general. The story is so quiet, descriptive of simple things like everyday chores, and a little stilted in dialogue that it tends to drag and lacks the excitement of some of her other premises. The "suspense" element is hardly there to add any tension, and what little there is (pertaining to unions) is hardly explained or dealt with in a satisfactory way. The twist with a character who is suffering from a mental illness or emotional breakdown, if you will, is one that has been explored in this genre of late through stories about insane asylums, but - while adding a different sort of tension and challenge to the characters - is more of a side story that doesn't have much emotional impact despite the sorrow of the situation.

Certain characters did appeal to me, especially Dr. Williams, who was quite thoughtful and gracious. Unfortunately, that contrasted sharply with Tavin's selfishness, and Tavin's character did not win me over. I think it might have helped to have been given more of a glimpse into how much Tavin and Emmalyne loved each other in their childhood and teen years...but, as it was, I just did not understand why they had seen each other as "soul mates," especially given Tavin's reaction to Emmalyne's decision in chapter one. I mean, seriously? Of course, they were young, but the fact that his feeling of being affronted by Emmalyne's choice persisted over the many years they were apart aggravated me. He couldn't seem to look beyond himself to see how others might be feeling or to sacrifice as Emmalyne had been willing to do, and at least a hint of that self-centered attitude remained, in my opinion, throughout the whole book.

As for Emmalyne, it's nice to meet a heroine whose faith is an integral part of her character, and who struggles with how to live out her faith in difficult relationships. However, the story does occasionally get rather "preachy," and the swiftness of big heart-changes does seem to be portrayed more conveniently rather than authentically.

When I was younger, I especially enjoyed Peterson's "Yukon Quest" series, and I recall liking a few of her other books more than this one. If you've never read one of Peterson's books before, I might recommend starting with something other than The Quarryman's Bride. But if you're a big fan of her work, you might enjoy it more than I did. As it was, this one just didn't leave a great impression on me, and it came across as a book lacking passion and an engaging plot.

*With thanks to Bethany House for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.*

  • The Quarryman's Bride is available on!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

My thanks for this guest post to Ian McNear, student at the University of South Carolina, recently elected to chaplain of his fraternity.

Pain and regret.

We live in America, and we have plenty of time in our lives to devote hours to playing or watching media, play sports, and pursue our hobbies. Yet amongst the riches of our country and the world, people live in a state of depression, regret and pain.

Sin is killing us.

Christians, the very people who are supposed to be most joyous, are some of the ones struggling the most.

Drugs, alcohol abuse, broken relationships, rage, and sexual sin.

As a young man, at twenty-one years of age, I confess to breaking most of the above. Also, as a southerner living in South Carolina, in the U.S., the rule is: “What you do is between you and God.” This mindset so permeates our culture and life, it’s in how we think about God, and how we view other people. We give the illusion we’ve got it all together, and then believe other people’s own illusion. Slipping into a state of depression, we struggle to keep our thoughts straight and Christ-like, meanwhile feeling the whole time like we are failing.

The truth is, we are all failures.

Yet that didn’t stop an almighty, loving God from sending His son Jesus to die on a cross for our sake and take our sin. Christ knew our sin before He came, knew every little detail about our life and actions. We are all sinners, and therefore it should be no surprise that we all sin, right?

So that brings me to question … what are we trying to prove?

As we socialize, as we work, as we go about every aspect of our lives, we are always trying to put on our best faces to keep up the illusion that we have it all together.

We can’t stand on our own.

Christ knew that we couldn’t, knew that we needed help to get through life. That is why He instituted the Church, and it wasn’t to just show up every week and sing a couple of songs.

The Church was and is very clearly defined by the Bible to be a body of believers, one that is supposed to serve and love each other, to the utmost. Be diverse in gifts. Suffer and rejoice together. (1 Corinthians 12)

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” – Colossians 3:16

“Confess your sins one to another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man is powerful in its effect.” – James 5:16

We are not simply encouraged to be in community. We are commanded to be in community, to serve and be served. Community is part of what gives power to a believer.

As we seek community in a body of believers, we can’t be afraid to be humble and admit our sins. Christ was laid naked on the cross and endured its shame and torture.

We can learn to be open with each other about our lives and struggles, in love accepting instruction and correction when necessary.

Christ did not save us to be again enslaved by our lusts and passions, but to be free!

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” – Galatians 5:1

Stand free in the knowledge that you aren’t perfect, but Christ loves you enough to save you, and give you people to stand with.

If you don’t have community with believers, find it. It’s a good step in learning to live free.

Saturday, July 20, 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 A - Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyr.

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

Friday, July 19, 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 Karen Witemeyer, and her newest release, Stealing the Preacher.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Today, The Borrowed Book interviews historical romance author Karen Witemeyer about what it's like to be Karen.

1)    Thank you for taking the time to speak with us. You've been at this writing thing for a little while, and, based on your track record, you're pretty good at it! Have you always wanted to be an author? If not, what made you decide to write, and how long have you been at it?

I'd always been a bookworm, but for years I never even dared to dream about being a writer. It seemed so mysterious and far removed from normal life. After college, though, I began keeping a journal of story ideas inspired by my daydreams, thinking maybe someday I'd give writing a try. Then, when I was a stay-at-home mom with three kids under the age of five, my husband learned his position was being eliminated. Suddenly I was faced with needing to find a way to contribute to the family income. The time had come to take that writing dream off the shelf and try to make it a reality. Little did I know that it would be years before I saw any significant income from my efforts. Six months later, I reentered the workforce and claimed a "normal" day job, but by then the writing bug had bitten so hard I continued pursuing that dream in my off time. Six years later, in January 2009, I signed my first 3-book contract, and the following year I saw my first book hit the shelves.

2)    Have you ever had a funny experience connected with being an author? For instance, has someone ever overheard you discussing the merits of one murder weapon over another or caught you shooting at a can of gasoline to see if you could make it explode?

About a year ago, my family and I were eating out at the local Cotton Patch restaurant. Nothing fancy, just some good ol' chicken fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy. My husband's parents were with us, along with our three kids. Then out of the blue, a lovely lady walks up to the table and asks, "Are you Karen Witemeyer, the author?" How she recognized me, I have no idea. She must have already been familiar with my website or Facebook page more because none of my books have my picture on them. I smiled and chatted with her for several minutes, letting her know how glad I was she stopped by our table. Once she left, my kids couldn't quit grinning. It was their first "celebrity" moment with mom. Their awe lasted for all of about 2 minutes before they were back to their normal teasing and bickering, however.

3) What do your kids think about your being a writer?

My kids are proud of me and excited about asking their teachers if I can come speak to their classes, but they also see writing as an activity that keeps Mom closed up in her room for hours at a time. When they grow bored or hungry or get in a squabble with a sibling, my writing becomes a terrible inconvenience. I must say it's a thrill to have my daughter read my books and tell me how much she enjoys them. My boys just look at the covers and wonder why the people on them have no heads. Ha!

3)    How do you get your best ideas?

My ideas come from a variety of sources. Movies, television, other books, even the Bible. Short-Straw Bride was inspired by the musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. To Win Her Heart was inspired by the parable of the Prodigal Son and asking the question, what would life have been like for the prodigal after the celebration was over?

Stealing the Preacher, my current release, was inspired by a character – Crockett Archer, one of the Archer brothers from Short-Straw Bride. Since Crockett is no ordinary preacher, but a gun-toting rancher with a gift for doctoring . . . well, that meant a plot full of scrapes, trouble, and shenanigans. Not to mention an outlaw's daughter with the soul of a missionary. I had so much fun creating a heroine worthy of the man I had come to admire in Short-Straw Bride.

4) Do you like to listen to music when you write?

Nope. I prefer the quiet.

5) Writing is a sedentary occupation. What do you do for exercise?

I get up at 5 M-F to walk two miles on my treadmill before getting ready for work. Well, when I don't roll over and go back to sleep, that is.

6) What fun fact would you like your readers to know about you?

I live next door to my in-laws and actually love it!

 That is a fun fact! You and your mother-in-law must both be wonderful people.

Two-time RITA® Finalist and winner of the coveted HOLT Medallion and ACFW Carol Award, CBA bestselling author, Karen Witemeyer, writes historical romance fiction for Bethany House, believing that the world needs more happily-ever-afters. She is an avid cross-stitcher, shower singer, and bakes a mean apple cobbler. Karen makes her home in Abilene, TX with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at:

Come back tomorrow, when you can enter to win a copy of Karen's latest release, Stealing the Preacher. 

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