Monday, September 30, 2013

My cover designer is getting ready to release her next YA book in October - a light paranormal novella titled Haunting Joy, the first in a new series. I had the pleasure of editing the book, and I'm putting together the blog tour, which will be happening in a few weeks. If you're looking for an intriguing, quick, and meaningful read, Haunting Joy is your ticket to Halloween thrills!

About the Book

Joy’s new dress has a secret – one with a little supernatural history, one that’s a little more than she expected.

It all starts one ordinary afternoon, as seventeen-year-old Joy tries on some thrift-store clothes her grandmother gave her. The little white dress fits perfectly. Trouble is, now it won’t leave her alone. Soon Joy is swept up in an extraordinary journey to help a ghost complete some unfinished business. If only that didn’t involve Joy driving through dangerous intersections...or calling up her high-school crush, Nick...or getting stuck at a cemetery after dark.

Will Joy accept this ghostly challenge to be "more"? And just how far will she go to uncover the truth?

Light Paranormal Novella

About the Author/Cover Designer

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?
  • Check Seasons of Humility tomorrow for the reveal of the special edition (paperback) cover! And be sure to visit there again October 22nd for the start of the blog tour!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Good morning, 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: 

Lis ( - A Little Bit of Charm by Mary Ellis.

Congratulations, Lis! Thank you all so much for stopping by The Borrowed Book.
They say the places you dream about are the ones that are indelibly etched on your soul. I still dream occasionally about the house in the country where I grew up, even though I’ve lived where we are now for five years longer than I lived there.

Now, we suddenly face leaving this place. I wonder if I’ll dream about it later, because I feel a connection to and understanding of this place, as none other. And yet, as I’m often reminded and have been reminded again: however much I love it, this place is not home.

And still we can’t help but love, to be attached to places, and things, which in themselves are never really true treasures, but shadows of things to come.

Our hearts long, but can never be fully satisfied by anything on this earth. We can come close—the embrace of a loved one, a piece of music, an exquisite meal or dessert. An especially sweet conversation with a friend. Even time spent in the Word, in prayer and worship, is only a temporary respite from the gnawing ache inside. Why else would there be so many songs, across so many styles of music, that speak of Heaven?

Because only there is our true Home. By whatever name we call it—Paradise, the High Countries, the Great Beyond, the Bright Lands—the promise is the same, for something real and permanent, somewhere our hearts will finally find rest.

As C.S. Lewis put it, in The Great Divorce:

I believe, to be sure, that any man who reaches Heaven will find that what he abandoned (even in plucking out his right eye) has not been lost: that the kernel of what he was really seeking even in his most depraved wishes will be there, beyond expectation, waiting for him in ‘the High Countries’. In that sense it will be true for those who have completed the journey (and for no others) to say that good is everything and Heaven everywhere. But we, at this end of the road, must not try to anticipate that retrospective vision. If we do, we are likely to embrace the false and disastrous converse and fancy that everything is good and everywhere is Heaven.

But what, you ask, of earth? Earth, I think, will not be found by anyone to be in the end a very distinct place. I think earth, if chosen instead of Heaven, will turn out to have been, all along, only a region in Hell: and earth, if put second to Heaven, to have been from the beginning a part of Heaven itself.

And maybe, just maybe, that's why we love earthly places so much. Not because they're home, but ... they remind us of Home.

8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; 10 for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God....13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. 15 And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. (Hebrews 11, NKJV)

13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. (2 Peter 3 NKJV)

Friday, September 27, 2013

It's Fun Friday at The Borrowed Book!

To enter:

Leave the time it took you to complete the puzzles 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. Enter all weekend long! Winners will be announced Sunday night at midnight.

This week's puzzle feature is brought to you by Mary Ellis and her newest release, A Little Bit of Charm. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

In her visit with us today, author Mary Ellis plays teacher. Not one to waste time, she's already giving a quiz!

If you're a writer who hasn't yet been published, take your seats, please. This is for you... 

Are you hampering your chances of getting published in fiction?
 (because of your perceptions of the writing process or the publishing industry?)

Take my 10 question true-or-false quiz and let’s see. (Note: some might be trick questions, and many are nothing more than my opinion …but they’ll provide something for you to think about.) My answers are below.

____ 1. A writer should always wait until creative ideas are flowing before sitting down to write, otherwise your story will suffer.

____ 2. Know your subject matter backwards and forwards before you begin your book.

____ 3. There is an unlimited number of plot lines, themes, and character archetypes out there, so pick something fresh for your novel.

____ 4. Being a career author is little different than being a doctor, lawyer or bricklayer in many aspects.

____ 5. You’ll know after writing (and trying to sell) one manuscript whether or not you’re destined to be an author.

____6. Take your agent’s advice only if it agrees fully with your personal expectations regarding your career path.

___  7. The most important thing during your pre-published period is to establish a platform for yourself via social networking such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.

___  8. It’s necessary to be a Christian and have strong faith to write inspirational novels.

____9. Be willing to change your story to suggestions made by critique partners or concerned members of your writing group.

___10. Self-publishing your first novel is a good way to get your foot in the door with an advance-paying publishing house.

Bonus question:  Which of the following characteristics is most important in determining whether you’ll be a professional writer someday?  a) lucky   b) brilliant    c) persistent     d) young and attractive     e) thick-skinned


1)  False—sit down and write something every day. You can always edit and tweak later, but you can’t fix something that doesn’t exist.

2) False—this might be true of non-fiction, but not for fiction. You could actually overload a story with too much factual detail. Learn your subject subject/historical period well enough to be accurate and then concentrate on your story!

3) False--there truly are no new themes or plot lines out there. Make your voice as unique as possible, because that’s what will make your story shine.

4) True—you must take your work schedule as seriously as if you’re in a high-rise office surrounded by crabby bosses. To be successful, you must be professional and dedicated to the craft.

5)  False—few people ever sell their first manuscript, at least not without substantial rewrites down the road. Bite the bullet after your first batch of rejections and start a fresh story. Writing is not for quitters.

6) False—I could have sold to a mainstream publisher faster had I taken my agent’s advice sooner. Although you can’t change your writing style to fit the current hot genre, remember your agent sees aspects of the business unknown to you. Be willing to at least try his/her suggestion.

7) False—although many respected people in the business will disagree with me. I say the most important thing is to make your manuscript superior to the others flooding an editor’s or agent’s desk. If social networking must take a backseat for now, so be it.

8) True—if you don’t believe it, if you don’t feel it in your bones, your Christian characters won’t come alive to your readers.

9) False—you should be willing to consider their suggestions and remain open-minded but in the end, this is your story, your voice. You must write the book of your heart.

10) False—self-publishing your first non-fiction book is a good way to get your foot in the door with
(non-fiction) publishers. But in my opinion, it's neither here-nor-there
regarding fiction. It won’t help you…but it won’t hurt you either. Not every story is destined for the “mainstream” market, so self-publishing is a good choice for those books that don’t fit any particular pigeon-hole.

Bonus Question: although ALL may be helpful, persistence is what you need to achieve your dreams. May God bless you and continue to guide your writing journey!   ~Mary Ellis

Mary Ellis is the bestselling author of many books, including A Widow's Hope, An Amish Family Reunion, and Living in Harmony. She and her husband live in central Ohio, where they try to live a simpler style of life.

Be sure to stop by tomorrow, when you can enter to win a free copy of Mary's latest release, A Little Bit of Charm, the third in the New Beginnings series!  

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Author Janelle Mowery’s book Always Remembered is set during the turbulent time before the battle of the Alamo.
When I read the book, I could tell Janelle had put in a lot of time researching. I asked her for some little known facts about the Alamo to share with our readers.

1. There were many Tejanos (Texans of Hispanic descent. Texas was not part of the United States at the time of the Alamo battle) in the Alamo who fought against Santa Anna and his men. Some of the Alamo defenders fought against their brothers. The Tejanos were independent frontier people and wanted to be locally ruled instead of by the dictatorship of Santa Anna.

2. Most of the men who fought and died at the Alamo hadn't been in Texas very long. Several came from all over the world, as far away as Europe, Scotland, and Germany. Many defenders came to fight because of the promise of receiving free land as an incentive to volunteer.

3. The actual number of men who died defending the Alamo is unknown because it's unknown how many were there when Santa Anna began the siege. The estimate is anywhere between 200-250.

4. It is believed that everyone inside the Alamo died, but this is incorrect. All the defenders died, but some of the men had brought their families inside the Alamo before the siege. The women and children of those defenders, along with slaves and Tejano civilians, were protected during the battle and then interviewed and released by Santa Anna after the battle. Each of the women were given $2 and a blanket at the time of their release.

5. The Alamo was first built in 1718 as a mission in an attempt to convert local Indians to Christianity but was abandoned after about 70 years. In the early 1800's, Spanish military troops took over the mission, at which time they called it the Alamo because of a nearby grove of cottonwood trees. Alamo means cottonwood in Spanish.

6. In December of 1835, a group of Texans fighting for independence overwhelmed the Mexican garrison stationed at the Alamo and sent them back to Mexico. After that battle, Sam Houston wanted the Alamo destroyed and the defenders to retreat, but James Neill and Jim Bowie decided it was a good place to make a stand against Santa Anna. They began to fortify the fort and wait for reinforcements. But the only reinforcements to arrive were 32 men from Gonzalez.

Please visit Janelle at her website to learn more about her and her books.

If there’s one thing this writer loves, it’s research. What fun to jump into my car with my laptop, GPS, camera, spiral notebook, handful of pens, of our course, my cell phone. But when you’re researching the Amish in remote rural areas it can get rather tricky. Those who cherish privacy and seclusion often live on rutted, unpaved roads often not on maps and far from gas stations and other conveniences.

For A Little Bit of Charm, I headed to Kentucky to interview the Old Order Mennonites and Amish of Casey and Barren Counties. Generally, these people moved here from over-populated areas of Ohio or Pennsylvania. They came looking for cheaper, more plentiful farmland and found it. What does that mean for a wannabe researcher? I spent my third summer vacation in an area without cell phone service, or a single fast food restaurant for
miles. If you go in search of horses-and-buggies and a slower pace of life, always remember to bring local maps. My GPS kept getting confused and shutting off. Luckily, I was able to stay at my friend’s house and commute back and forth, since there were no hotels or motels close by. Her grand-daughters came along to keep me company—very handy considering how often I was lost. The girls received a priceless education in the Plain culture that surpassed any textbook. And having them with me opened plenty of doors for this nosy writer. Who could resist answering the
questions of three adorable little girls? A Little Bit of Charm completes my New Beginnings series about three sisters who go off in different directions seeking fresh starts. Whether Amish of English, young people desire a place they can comfortably establish their identities. And for some, it’s often far from the conveniences we’ve all come to depend on.

Mary Ellis grew up near the Amish and fell in love with them. She has now written nine bestselling novels set in their communities. When not writing, she enjoys gardening, bicycling, and swimming. Before "retiring" to write full-time, Mary taught school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate. Living in Harmony, book one of this series won the 2012 Lime Award for Excellence in Amish Fiction. Book two, Love Comes to Paradise has been nominated for a 2013 Lime Award. She can be found on the web at: or at: or

Monday, September 23, 2013

Author Anne Elisabeth Stengl is releasing a new story in the "Tales of Goldstone Wood" series - a novella titled Goddess Tithe. Look for it this November...and read on to learn more about the book and it's epic cover!

The Vengeful Goddess 
Demands Her Tithe 

When a stowaway is discovered aboard the merchant ship Kulap Kanya, Munny, a cabin boy on his first voyage, knows what must be done. All stowaways are sacrificed to Risafeth, the evil goddess of the sea. Such is her right, and the Kulap Kanya's only hope to return safely home. 

Yet, to the horror of his crew, Captain Sunan vows to protect the stowaway, a foreigner in clown's garb. A curse falls upon the ship and all who sail with her, for Risafeth will stop at nothing to claim her tithe.

Will Munny find the courage to trust his captain and to protect the strange clown who has become his friend? 

About the Author

Anne Elisabeth Stengl makes her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Rohan, a kindle of kitties, and one long-suffering dog. When she’s not writing, she enjoys Shakespeare, opera, and tea, and practices piano, painting, and pastry baking. She studied illustration at Grace College and English literature at Campbell University. She is the author of the Tales of Goldstone Wood, including Heartless, Veiled Rose, Moonblood, Starflower, and Dragonwitch. Heartless and Veiled Rose have each been honored with a Christy Award, and Starflower was voted winner of the 2013 Clive Staples Award.

In Anne Elisabeth's Words...

About the Cover Design

I had the fun of designing this cover—finding reference photos, inventing the composition, applying the text, etc.—but the actual artistic work was done by talented cover artist Phatpuppy, whose work I have admired for many years. It was such a thrill for me to contact and commission this artist to create a look for Goddess Tithe that is reminiscent of the original novels but has a style and drama all its own.

The boy on the front was quite a find. I hunted high and low for an image of a boy the right age, the right look, with the right expression on his face. Phatpuppy and I worked with a different model through most of the cover development stage. But then I happened upon this image, and both she and I were delighted with his blend of youth, stubbornness, and strength of character! It wasn’t difficult to switch the original boy for this young man. He simply is Munny, and this cover is a perfect window into the world of my story.

You can’t see it here, but the wrap-around back cover for the print copy contains some of the prettiest work . . . including quite a scary sea monster! Possibly my favorite detail is the inclusion of the ghostly white flowers framing the outer edge. These are an important symbol in the story itself, and when Phatpuppy sent me the first mock-up cover with these included, I nearly jumped out of my skin with excitement!

About the Illustration

There are eight full-page illustrations in Goddess Tithe featuring various characters and events from the story. This is the first one in the book. I decided to share it with all of you since it depicts my young hero, Munny the cabin boy, under the watchful eye of his mentor, the old sailor Tu Pich. Munny is on his first voyage, and he is determined to learn all there is to know about a life at sea as quickly as possible. Thus we see him utterly intent upon the knot he is learning to tie. Tu Pich is old enough to know that no sailor will ever learn all there is to know about the sea. Thus he looks on, grave, caring, and perhaps a little sad. He might be looking upon his own younger self of many years ago, fumbling through the hundreds of difficult knots his fingers must learn to tie with unconscious ease.

I enjoyed creating all the illustrations for Goddess Tithe, but this one was my favorite. I love the contrasts of light and dark, the contrasts of young and old . . . youthful intensity versus the perspective of age.

First Chapter


Anne Elisabeth is giving away two proof copies of Goddess Tithe! This drawing is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Good morning, 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: 

Judy (judyjohn2004(at)yahoo(dot)com) - Serenity to Accept by Elizabeth Maddrey.

Congratulations, Judy! Thank you all so much for stopping by The Borrowed Book.
Wars and rumors of wars. The news has been filled with it this month. So was my personal life.

It’s been on my mind how full scripture is with military metaphors, and for good reason. Any way you look at it, we’re surrounded by warfare.

We are hammered daily with doubt and discouragement. Battered by the temptation to jealousy or anger.

Our children sometimes only need to walk into the same room as a sibling for war to break out. Never mind what they face when stepping into the four walls of school.

Hurt and heartbreak come from all sides. Sometimes it’s a stray image we see, other times it’s God putting us in a place to perform a task we do not understand, to fulfill a purpose we cannot fathom.

Interesting that earlier this month marked the Jewish new year, known as Rosh Hashanah, or the Feast of Trumpets. A trumpet—a shofar, or ram’s horn, in ancient Biblical times, not the brass thing we know today—could be used as a call to worship or to sound an alarm. Heaven knows we have plenty to worship God for, or to warn others about. So often, though, I find myself so distracted with the battle within, I forget to both worship and warn.

And what am I fighting? Most of the time, it’s my own nature—that impulse to respond to situations and other people out of pride or selfishness. What’s up for debate is how often I’m influenced by the very real enemy of our souls.

That isn’t to say every difficulty we experience is spiritual warfare. Or is it? If the core of the problem is a “disturbance in the Force”—meaning we’re either out of alignment with the Spirit of God, we’re being “leaned on” by something beyond ourselves, or it’s otherwise traceable to spiritual factors, then by all means, yes, we can call it that.

People offer all sorts of advice or seeming solutions, but this is something we’re more or less bound to face every day of our lives. One thing that I heard years ago, which has always stayed with me, is that while we grow up hearing strains of “Onward, Christian Soldiers,” it’s enough—no, more than enough—just to stand.

And how can that be? Well, as I was reminded this past weekend, we do not fight FOR a position of victory. We are fighting FROM a position of victory. Christ has already done the work on the Cross. When He spoke the words, “It is finished,” redemption became an immutable reality. His resurrection only sealed it.

No matter what might conspire to distract us from the truth of that.

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)

Friday, September 20, 2013

It's Fun Friday at The Borrowed Book!

To enter:

Leave the time it took you to complete the puzzles 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. Enter all weekend long! Winners will be announced Sunday night at midnight.

This week's puzzle feature is brought to you by Elizabeth Maddrey and her newest release, Serenity to Accept.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Writing Life. It sounds so idyllic, doesn’t it? When I think of “the writing life,” I get an image of someone sitting by a pond with a journal, blissfully scribbling away their thoughts. Or maybe typing because they’d like to be able to read those thoughts again later. And then I think about my “writing life” and I have to laugh.

A typical day in the life for me runs a lot like a typical day for any homeschooling, stay-at-home mom. The baby tends to wake up first. The sounds of him experimenting with language and volume eventually wake up his older brother who then comes in to see if it’s time to get up yet, despite having a clock next to his bed that turns green when it’s okay. It’s usually not green. He just wants to make sure that it didn’t break overnight. (This is his reasoning – he’s a little writer in training.)

So we get up and there’s coffee (glorious, glorious coffee) and breakfast and squabbling about whose waffle is larger (Answer: The machine that stamps out the waffles and freezes them for boxing does not vary in size. No matter how much it looks like your brother’s waffle is different, it isn’t) and who got more butter (Answer: Your brother did. Because I love him better, obviously.) and can I please have some coffee too? (Answer: No.) All during this time, I’m trying to mull over whatever plot point I’m currently stuck on – because I’m always stuck on something. I only seem to get unstuck by making myself keep writing and promising to figure it out later.

Then it’s time for a spin in the idea box – or as most people call it the shower. Honestly, I get the best ideas in the shower. There’s something about all that steam and quiet (oh, the quiet!) that loosens up the old brain (and the sinuses, so bonus there during allergy season.) I quickly scribble down the ideas when I’m out and then wrangle the boys into clothes. And then it’s off to whatever chores/playdate/cleaning marathon is scheduled for the day.  All the while I’m people watching and blatantly eavesdropping on conversations to try and see if there’s something I can use in my next story.

After lunch (same general squabbling as breakfast, but most of the time not with waffles), it’s nap slash quiet time. This is when I actually get to write on my computer. It goes something like this:

Tuck kids in bed, older one with books. Kisses, hugs, lots of love. Sneak downstairs and boot up the computer.

Run upstairs. “Shh. You’ll wake your brother.”
“I have to go potty.”
“So go.” Return downstairs and open Word.
Run upstairs. “Shh. You’ll wake your brother.”
“I need a drink of water.”
“You have cups in your bathroom. Go get a drink.”
“I can get up for a drink?”
“And the potty.”

Back downstairs. Skim over what I wrote last to try and remember where I am. Look at my ideas from the shower this morning. Realize they don’t work for this story at all, but file them away for something else another time. Wonder if I have any old ideas that might work. Dig around for old scraps of paper, find nothing. Just start typing and promise myself I’ll figure out the issue during editing. Get about 200 words written and realize I’m thirsty. Get a drink. Figure out where I was and keep typing. In a perfect world, I’d get two solid hours of writing here. What usually happens is the phone or the doorbell rings (or, bonus, both at the same time!) Handle the issue, get back to writing.

“Mom, I can’t sleep.”

Realize it’s pretty much the end of quiet time anyway. Save, close the document. Dig out school and do that. Then it’s play time and hubby gets home and then dinner time and bed time. And then, finally, when the boys are in bed, it’s back to the computer with a word count or time deadline firmly fixed in
my mind. Most days I make myself meet that deadline, other days I cave and watch Dr. Who instead.

Don't forget to stop by tomorrow, when you can enter to win a free copy of Elizabeth's latest release, Serenity to Accept.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I'm two weeks into a new eating and exercise regimen. Doing that made me wonder about the history of exercise and eating. Turns out it's a large topic that I can't possibly cover in one blog, but I did discover some interesting pictures and ads for things that make me grateful for my modern recumbent bike, hand weights, and Bowflex machine. I thought our readers might like to see a few. 

"Someone? Anyone? Help me out of this thing!"
Can you say, traction? Chiropractor?
I always exercise in a suit, don't you?
After she's done, she'll need help with a
compacted spine and migraine headache,
but at least her hysteria and stagnated
liver will be fixed.

"Sorry, dear. Mommy can't talk right now.
And she can't move, either."

This is my favorite.
Yes, that says TAPE WORMS!
But no worries! They're sanitized. (How?)
And we talk about how weird some things are that
people do today to lose weight. . .

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I don’t get a lot of people asking me questions about what it’s like to be a writer. I suspect some of that is because I don’t tend to tell a whole bunch of people that I am one. It’s not that I’m embarrassed; it just never seems to come up…probably because most of the time I’m surrounded by two adorable little boys who steal all my limelight. Regardless, I have lots of conversations with imaginary people in my head, and sometimes I’ll be at an imaginary book signing and a lovely imaginary person will come up and gush delightedly to me about how much she enjoyed my books and then ask the question that I’m told authors have learned to dread: where do you get your ideas?

For me, my ideas seem to come from life as it happens around me – most often conversations with friends, family, acquaintances, and…random imaginary people. In the case of my first book (Wisdom to Know), the plot idea came from the many women I worked with when I worked and volunteered at a Pregnancy Resource Center. Book 2, Courage to Change, came out of conversations I had with secondary characters while I was writing book 1. But then came book 3…deadline looming and plot ideas fizzling. So I took the night off and we went out to dinner with friends.

We have a good friend who’s thirty and single and would love to find a Godly wife…and he’s struggling. More than that, talking to him as he navigates the dating waters, it’s interesting to hear how quickly he realizes the “mate potential” of his dates – and how he’s trying to ensure that he doesn’t prolong a relationship that has no future. One of these conversations with him got me thinking. I remember growing up our high school youth pastor frequently quoted the idea that “every date is a potential mate.” And like most high schoolers (or at least those that I knew) I remember rolling my eyes. But as I got older, and the idea of finding a mate and settling down started to really root itself in my mind, I realized the essence of wisdom in the cliché. I’m grateful that God brought me together with my husband while we were still in college. But what happens when that doesn’t work out, like with our friend? The gears started to whirl and out of that came the basis for the plot of Serenity to Accept.

In Serenity to Accept (Book 3 of the Grant Us Grace series), we meet Dr. Jason Garcia. He’s a long-time believer who is determined to date only Christian women – but he finds himself attracted to Karin Reid, who starts out somewhat antagonistic to the idea of Christianity. Jason begins to struggle with the lines he’s drawn in his mind – is it okay to date Karin even though he knows he shouldn’t be willing to be unequally yoked? How much does attraction and chemistry factor into a relationship? Karin, on the other end of things, isn’t really sure how to be in a relationship that’s bound by Christian morals. She’s also struggling with understanding how anyone can look at the evil in the world and still believe in God. Both Jason and Karin have to figure out what God’s will is for them – and come to terms with the fact that the other may not be part of that plan.

Though there are a number of spiritual themes in Serenity to Accept, I hope the overarching takeaway—as with my other two novels—is one of grace. God’s grace gets us through the high and low points of our lives and helps us experience Him. 

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