Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Old time recipes for what ails you.


Soak the feet in warm water, roast an onion, and put the heart of it into the ear as warm as can be borne. Heat a brick, and wrap it up, and apply it to the side of the head. When the feet are taken from the water, bind roasted onions on them. Lard or sweet oil [olive oil] dropped in the ear, as warm as can be borne, is good. 

(Onions contain the antibiotic/antiviral, and anti-fungal ingredient called allicin. They are also supposed to contain a natural anti-inflammatory.)

General Taylor’s celebrated cough syrup

One quart in bulk of horehound to one quart of water and boil down to a pint; add three sticks of liquorice, and a tablespoonful of essence of lemon. One tablespoonful five times a day, or as often as the cough may be troublesome. This has been sold for one dollar a bottle.

(Horehound has been used as an expectorant and purgative, for stomach complaints, tea for a cold, and to help wounds.) 

To cure rheumatism

Put an ounce of cayenne pepper in ½ pint of brandy, and take from a tea to a teaspoonful three times a day, or blister the affected parts.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Do you ever have those moments where you feel truly inspired by God and know you are on the right track? Many authors talk about writing the story God gave them. It’s a wonderful feeling as the Holy Spirit flows through your fingertips onto the page. But there’s another kind of Holy Spirit experience that’s even better than knowing it as it happens. It’s the moment you read back what you thought was a mundane, common-place scene and find the gems He left behind. That’s when you know you are being used as an Empty Vessel of the Lord. And there’s no greater feeling in the world, because the emptier you are of yourself, the more room you have for Him. And the more Him, the better!
I have many moments in my life I look back to and see God’s work in play, even times I’d put Him aside for what I’d deemed more important things. Though I’d neglected Him, He never treated me as though I were of lesser importance. I think that’s why those moments are so special to me now.
He still gives me these wonderful revelations of His presence in my life. One most recent was as I wrote the last scene of my novella, At the Edge of a Dark Forest. 
In writing fiction, it’s important to get the pacing of the story just so. That way, the reader can feel they are in the moment with the character. In the final scene, my female protagonist, Carly, is going to a spot in the forest to see the male protagonist, Cole, for the first time in many months. I felt this walk in the woods needed to take a little time so the reader could feel Carly’s nervousness about seeing Cole again. I wanted to drag it out just a bit so as to heighten the suspense of what she’d find. So I added lots of details of the woods she traveled and thoughts of past moments there. 
I asked myself, “What would she be thinking?” 
She’d be thinking of the tree her father’s car hit when he meant to commit suicide. That was the moment where Cole and Carly’s two worlds intertwined. 
“What would the tree look like now?”  
I wrote the answer into the story, “New growth in broken spots and animals finding shelter in the holes.”
I added the crunch of the leaves under her feet and the exertion of the climb and ended the story. Phew! It always feels so good to type “The End” even when you know there are reams of edits to make afterwards. So I read through the scene several times, clarified points, elaborated on ideas and …
Then it hit me!
New growth in broken spots and animals finding shelter in the holes.
Wow, God!
That phrase, unbeknownst to me as I typed the words, was a perfect metaphor for Cole’s story. You see, Cole is a double amputee after having been injured from an IED in the Iraq War. Carly came into his life to provide him with her prototype prosthetics and train him how to use them.
New growth in broken spots …
But that was not the part that really shocked me. It was the last words of the sentence …
… and animals finding shelter in the holes.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. Could the metaphor be more perfect? I sobbed at the realization, because I had nothing to do with its use. It was all God … when I wasn’t looking. There’s nothing more extraordinary then the feeling of being an Empty Vessel of the Lord. Thank you, God!
Oh yeah, if you’re wondering how the animals finding shelter in the holes relates to the story, well, there’s only one way to find out .


Cole Harrison, an Iraq war veteran, wears his disfigurement like a barrier to those who might love him, shielding them from the ugliness inside. He agrees to try and potentially invest in, a prototype prosthetic with the goal of saving a hopeless man’s dreams.
Carly Rose contracts to live with Cole and train him to use his new limbs, only to discover the darkness that wars against the man he could become. 
At the Edge of a Dark Forest is a modern-day retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Only it is not her love that will make him whole. 

Connie Almony is trained as a mental health therapist and likes to mix a little fun with the serious stuff of life. She was a 2012 semi-finalist in the Genesis Contest for Women’s Fiction and was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Winter 2012 WOW Flash Fiction Contest. Her newest release, At the Edge of a Dark Forest, is a modern-day re-telling of Beauty and the Beast about a war-vet, amputee struggling with PTSD
You can find Connie on the web, writing book reviews for Jesus Freak Hideout, and hosting the following blogs: and
You can also meet her on the following social media outlets:

Review of At the Edge of a Dark Forest by S. Black:
Connie Almony in her novella "At the Edge of a Dark Forest", weaves an intriguing story of a Iraq war veteran disfigured with the loss of his arm and leg by EID blast who considers himself as repulsive and unlovable on the outside as well as in the inside. He lives his life in his large chalet-looking home as a recluse in the dark forests of the mountainous area with only his servants to take care of him. All the wealth he inherited from his parents could not assuage his anguish, only by means of consuming alcohol could he forget his plight, for awhile, until nightmares left him screaming in the night tormented by war sounds. In his mind he even considers dark thoughts of ending his life. But God intervenes in Cole Harrison's life as he climbs the mountain waiting for hypothermia to take him. He sends a distraction of another desperate man whose car runs off the road, accidentally or on purpose. Cole knows no one will see his car in time to rescue him so he detours from his path hobbling down to the car. The driver, Henry Rose, allows Cole to lead him to his home and conversations reveal that Henry's daughter, Carly, designs prosthetics to help amputees like Cole to have a more maneuverable life, and he encourages him to allow Carly to try her new prototype prosthetics on him. After three months he agrees but Carly finds out when she arrives that she must live at the chalet until he is capable in the use of his new prosthetics. This was not  part of the bargain. Could she trust this complete stranger, to live with him, in such a remote place, a man so obviously bitter? Could she ever make a difference in Cole's life.

An outstanding novel, I couldn't put the story down. Ms. Almony gave me a glimpse of the horrors our soldiers endure even after they have returned from fighting for the freedom of others.  I enjoyed each of the characters so much that I cried at parts in the story as well as laughed at other parts as their lives developed relationships between each other. What a unique method of using "Beauty and the Beast" as the parallel theme through the story. I recommend this book highly, and I look forward to reading more of Ms. Almony's writings.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Please welcome Alicia Willis to the BB! Alicia is the author of two novels and two novellas, with more books on the way. :) She loves historical fiction, and that's the main topic of our interview today. Come learn more about Alicia's books and enter to win an e-copy! (You can also connect with her on Facebook, Google+, and her blog.)


Amber: Welcome to “The Borrowed Book,” Alicia! Could you share with us what inspired your love for history and historical fiction?

Alicia: I think I was born loving history! As a young girl, my Mom would have to take the history books from my hands at night. I would literally go to bed reading history.

I think my love for historical-fiction grew out of the knowledge that some people see history in black-and-white. I wanted to show people that history is alive with color and vigor, with individuals who really lived and were just as real as we are. That has always been my goal: to portray history as being exciting, not just boring dates and facts.

Amber: That's an admirable goal, and one I can definitely relate to as a fellow historical fiction author! Now, you’ve written books set in the Middle Ages, on the prairie, and at the Alamo. So which era of history is your favorite?

Alicia: Probably the Middle Ages. I love knights, squires, and the unique way they lived their lives. I have also written a Roman novel (coming soon!). The Roman Empire is another favorite era of mine.

Amber: You’ve written both full-length novels and novellas. What are the challenges and joys of writing stories of differing lengths?

Alicia: The joys of writing full-length novels include expanding the character developments, which I enjoy. I love getting to know my characters better! However, this joy can also be realized in writing a short novel because I continue to make up the story in my head even after I’ve reached my word count. For me, no matter how long or short the book, a character is never really finished with his/her story. It always continues on in my heart and mind.

The challenges really only have to do with the publishing process itself. My full-length novels are published through a Christian hybrid publisher, so my only challenge is in communicating with my teams and signing my life away. :) My novellas are self-published through KDP, so the challenge is in doing the hard work of interior layout and copyright myself.

Amber: Love what you said about characters' stories continuing despite the length of the story! So true.

Your latest release is Remembering the Alamo, and it’s a mix of modern day and historical fiction. What made you decide to blend contemporary and historical storylines instead of staying strictly in the past? What do you hope readers will take away from the parallels and contrasts?

Alicia: I’ve noticed that many folks (particularly young people) don’t see how history applies to them today. Too many individuals think of history as boring facts. I wanted to show how the valiant sacrifice of the Alamo defenders can be beneficial and even exciting to people today. The story centers around a youth group visiting San Antonio and the story their pastor tells them – the story of an 1800 wheelwright who left everything to defend Texas. By blending 21st century characters with Alamo heroes like David Crockett and William Travis, my goal was to show readers everywhere how important it is to remember the sacrifices of our forefathers.

Amber: Very cool! What’s next for you on the publishing front? 

Alicia: Praise God, my Roman novel entitled From the Dark to the Dawn was a top thirty winner/finalist in a nation-wide contest with over three hundred entries. Lord willing, I will be publishing it within the next few months. Additionally, I hope to release the third and final book in The Comrades of Honor Series this year. How does the title Rising to the Challenge sound to you all? I hope readers are ready for a feisty Iceni slave, a cruel Roman master, a rebellious squire, and a God-fearing knight!

Thank you for having me here today!

Amber: It's a pleasure, Alicia! Congratulations on your exciting news, and best wishes on your continued success!



Alicia is kindly offering a PDF ebook of any of her four titles: God of Her Fathers, To Birmingham Castle, Remembering the Alamo, or In Search of Adventure. Winner's choice! Just leave a comment with your e-mail address (so we can get in touch with you if you win), and let us know what you think of historical fiction and which of Alicia's books most intrigues you! You can learn more about each book on her website. (Note: This giveaway is open internationally. Winner will be announced next Monday, May 5th.)

Sunday, April 27, 2014

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: 

Elaine K (Elaineking1 at hotmail dot com) - Critical Condition by Richard L. Mabry.

Congratulations, Elaine! Thank you all so much for stopping by The Borrowed Book.
So ... Jesus is risen. Now what?

The Pharisees had to be beyond ticked. Here they’d expected to be rid of Jesus, had schemed to get Him crucified—He should be gone forever. But now, with the mystery of the body’s disappearance, and some claiming to actually see Him alive, they’d never be rid of Him. Never.

Not that they believed any of this resurrection stuff. God just didn’t do that.

Did He?

What if He did? What then?

The challenge of resurrection is that it isn’t just a matter of belief—of mental assent. It becomes a brick wall, a monolith, that dominates one’s entire landscape. You can’t move it; you can only work around it. Or, you can embrace it and build your life around it.

If embraced, it demands that our entire lives be changed. Surrendered. Transformed. And this thing we call Life isn’t a tame, controllable force. Sometimes it blows through like a hurricane, and others it so quiet and slow as to be nearly invisible except over time.

It seems that whichever we’re most longing for, what we receive is the opposite.

But, back to that thing about change. Throughout the weeks before Resurrection Day, I kept hearing a repeating theme of some things needing to die so God could resurrect them. I also kept hearing about the need to let God’s resurrection life flow through us.

I look out my window at the slowly greening grass in our North Dakota spring and think how flowers are already blooming and trees leafed out in South Carolina. The temptation to compare what life looks like here to what life was there can be paralyzing.

Neither can I compare what God’s life looks like in me, to what it does in someone else’s.

I think too about the dreams that have apparently died, whether cut off by the suddenness of our move and the distance, or by the slow strangulation of stress. I know God can resurrect them, but ... will He?

Whether or not He does, I give them to Him anyway. They’re dead already—I can’t do anything with them. And I offer Him myself, because, again, I can do nothing of worth on my own.

And the blinding brightness of the Resurrection stands before me, commanding my attention, drawing me on with the promise that yes, there is more after this ... more strength, more growth, more green. More life.

But I can’t ever count on things remaining the same.

 10And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

12Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. (Romans 8, NKJV)

Friday, April 25, 2014

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 Richard Mabry and his newest release, Critical Condition.

Click to Mix and Solve

Thursday, April 24, 2014

For some reason, people seem interested in the life of a published writer. Before I joined that group, I had visions of a writer repairing to a quiet den where he or she could write in solitude, turning out words that were pure gold and never needed editing. When the author went out, people would point and whisper, “There goes…” And every few weeks, the postman would deliver a hefty royalty check, which the writer would put into an already fat mutual fund account. But now, as the late Paul Harvey would put it, I know the rest of the story.
My office is far from the spacious, well-furnished room I envisioned. I often joke that it’s so small I have to step outside to change my mind. My time there is never uninterrupted, but I don’t mind. That’s one of the advantages of working at home.
The author's swanky office

Although I try to get in some actual writing most days, my time in the office  is also taken with email, blog posts (mine and those of others), marketing, and the hundred-and-one things that I’ve found demand a writer’s attention.
By the way, although I always warn writers to avoid this activity, when I have a new release, such as Critical Condition, I read the reviews. Although I generally enjoy them, there are always one or two that keep me humble.
When I do get around to writing, I open my latest work-in-progress, read through the last couple of scenes (editing as I go), and write additional material. That not only gets me back into the flow of the novel, but makes my subsequent editing and revision work easier.
During all this, I look around for adoring crowds but see none. I listen for brass bands but all I hear are children playing in the yard next door. And when the postman comes, he generally brings bills and circulars, not fat checks. No, this isn’t the writer’s life I imagined.
There you have it, a typical writing day. It’s humdrum, totally devoid of drama, without the trappings of fame and fortune I once imagined. But would I change it? Not on your life. I’m a writer, and happy to be one.
*        *        *
Richard Mabry is a retired physician, past Vice President of the American Christian Fiction Writers, and author of “medical suspense with heart.” His novels have been a semifinalist for International Thriller Writers’ debut novel, finalists for the Carol Award and Romantic Times’ Reader’s Choice Award, and winner of the Selah Award.  His most recent novel, just released, is Critical Condition. You can follow Richard on his blog, on Twitter, and his Facebook fan page.

Make sure to stop by The Borrowed Book tomorrow for a chance to win a free copy of Critical Condition!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I found these Rules for a Sick Room in The Circle of Useful Knowledge by Charles Kinsley (self published in 1877), and I thought it might interest our readers. (Please note last sentence, which I thought pretty funny.)

Keep the patient and all about him perfectly clean, and secure as far as possible pure air. The chamber should be ventilated at least once a day, or twice if it can be borne. The bed-clothes should be carried out into the open air, if it is dry; if not, into the next room; and if the patient is unable to sit up meanwhile, let them be supplied by others. Keep the room quiet and in perfect order. Let the sick be addressed in a gentle voice, and the conversation, if any is admitted, be pleasant and cheering. The nurse and friends should express sympathy with the sufferer, but at the same time seek to inspire courage, and patience to endure. All vials and powders should be labelled to prevent fatal mistakes. The bed should be made at least once per day, and if the patient can bear it twice. Carry the beds into the open air, or if damp into another room. Keep the skin clean by daily ablutions; change the garments frequently and rinse the mouth often. A nurse should be of pleasant, agreeable, persuasive and even temper, with great patience to bear with the whims and unreasonable fretfulness that often appear in the sick. Never dispute with a very sick person, nor reprove him for any seeming inconsistency. Remember that he is hardly a responsible being.  

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Outside, strobes atop the police cars spilled red and blue over the figures huddled on the lawn. 
From the front window, the lights of the Christmas tree cast multicolored reflections on the snow. 
Inside the house, red bows and green garlands adorned the mantel of the living room. That color scheme continued in the tattered green coat the man on the floor wore and the darkening red stain that spread from the knife handle protruding from his back.
Dr. Shannon Frasier stood transfixed in one corner, unable to tear her eyes away from the corpse. Her “almost-fiancé,” Dr. Mark Gilbert, was beside her, his arm resting lightly on her shoulder. 
This was no way to start the holiday season.
In case you’re wondering where you can find those lines, you can’t, unless you scan the hard drive of my computer. When I started writing my most recent novel of medical suspense, Critical Condition, I planned to set it during the Christmas season. But after writing the first chapter, I decided that wasn’t going to work. So I started over.
When I was writing another novel, Heart Failure, I scrapped 20,000 words after I saw I was headed in the wrong direction. That one was tough to write, but I kept at it and after a number of false starts, several new beginnings, and multiple revisions, I produced a novel I thought was good.
In the past I never gave any thought to how many times an author may have started over, how many drafts and revisions were involved, until the book in my hand was born. But that was before I started writing. Now I am acutely aware of all that. As author Alton Gansky told my group of neophyte writers: “Once you begin writing, you’ll never read a book the same way again.” And I’ve found that to be true.
To the writers reading this, I would remind you that there may come a time when, despite all the work you’ve put in on it, it’s necessary to scrap what you’ve written and start over. If that happens to you, don’t worry about it. After all, the finished product is what counts. 
In writing, as in so many other things in life, the old adage is true: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

Richard Mabry is a retired physician, past Vice President of the
American Christian Fiction Writers, and author of “medical suspense with heart.” His novels have been a semifinalist for International Thriller Writers’ debut novel, finalists for the Carol Award and Romantic Times’ Reader’s Choice Award, and winner of the Selah Award.  His most recent novel, just released, is Critical Condition. You can follow Richard on his blog, on Twitter, and his Facebook fan page.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The winner of last week's giveaway for a copy of Alone Yet Not Alone is...

Meagan Davenport!

Congratulations, Meagan! I'll send you an email. :)

Now...announcing a new release from author Sandra Leesmith! In a similar vein to Love's Refuge, Love's Promises is an inspirational romance with a dash of suspense - this time set at Lake Tahoe in the 1980s. (Would you consider that contemporary or historical? I'm curious!) I had the pleasure of editing the book and organizing the publicity campaigns, and if you love character-driven romance with a setting that whisks you away, you're in for a treat with Sandra's latest. Read on to learn more...

About the Book

For Monica Scott, building her late father’s house at Lake Tahoe isn’t an option—it’s a necessary distraction from confusing memories and an uncertain future. But a handsome planner working for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) is keeping Monica from moving forward with the project. Never mind that he’s young and charming with a great sense of humor. No one is going to stop Monica from making her father’s dream—and her own—a reality.

All Greg Linsey wants is for his work to mean something. His job at TRPA gives him the opportunity to fight for the environment he loves and make a difference in his small corner of the world. But with the sophisticated Monica Scott’s arrival, his dedication is tested as never before, especially when Monica turns to his unscrupulous nemesis for assistance.

As Greg and Monica’s animosity turns into something far sweeter, can they learn to accept each other’s promises and avoid the growing danger to their lives and hearts?

About the Author

 Sandra Leesmith loves to travel in her RV and explore all of nature’s beauty, discover America’s history, and fellowship with the wonderful people she meets while on the road. She enjoys reading, writing, hiking, swimming, and pickleball. Learn more about Sandra and her books at

Want More?
  • The book is currently FREE in Kindle format! (Promotion runs through today, April 21st, and tomorrow, April 22nd.)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

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: 

Laura Pol (sylvesternator AT yahoo DOT com) - Healer of Carthage by Lynne Gentry.

Congratulations, Laura! Thank you all so much for stopping by The Borrowed Book.
Speechlessness in the mouth of a preacher is not a good thing.

Speechless, however, is exactly how the followers of Jesus found themselves on the morning of that third day.

It’s also where I find myself now.

I’ve written for six weeks on varying stages and aspects of Christ’s journey to the cross. And now, today, we celebrate the anniversary of the day He rose from the dead, and I am at a loss for what to say about it. It’s nice, as I look back, to know I’m not the only one.

I listen to my fellow believers reflect on this season with varying degrees of awe, thankfulness, and joy. All I can think about, however, as I go back and read over the accounts of the actual Resurrection, is how dumbstruck the core group of disciples was.

Why was this? Jesus had warned them often enough in the weeks beforehand that His death would take place. “And on the third day, I will be raised.”

In the shock of witnessing his death—which surely was more awful than they dreamed possible—did they not believe the last thing would come to pass?

The women believed, and bursting with joy, ran to share the news, although it’s clear that Mary Magdalene struggled at first with believing.

There were other hints that this particular plot twist was coming. The raising of Jairus’ daughter, the raising of the unnamed young man being carried away to his burial, the raising of Lazarus. Yet, it seems the disciples were tempted to believe the taunts above all else—“He who saved others is unable to save Himself.”

But—no. Oh no. He was more than able, just not in the way they expected.

I wonder, too, what the eventual state of belief was for those hapless guards left to keep watch over the tomb. They ¬saw the angels. They knew the disciples hadn’t come and stolen the body. They were there to prevent that very thing, and yet afterwards they were paid off—by the Pharisees and chief priests, no less, not even Pilate himself—to say that very thing happened, after all. The irony!

When I reflect on the Resurrection of Jesus itself, words like glorious and awesome come to mind ... but we all say that, in our time. What about how it appeared to His original followers, and to those guards?




Even now, people struggle to believe. Is it any wonder the rest of the world shakes its head at us, these crazy Christians who insist that there really was a literal resurrection?

And yet, on this hangs all of our faith. Not the value of Jesus as a good teacher, but as the Son of God and the Son of Man, perfect humanity offered up to die on our behalf, then risen again to life. The One who cracked death wide open, as the tomb was opened during that earthquake long ago.

May I walk today—and the rest of my days—living out the conviction that my lips speak. And may I ever be speechless before Him—but not in giving others an answer for what I believe.

1 Who has believed our report?
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

3 He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him;
He has put Him to grief.
When You make His soul an offering for sin,
He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.
11 He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied.
By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many,
For He shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great,
And He shall divide the spoil with the strong,
Because He poured out His soul unto death,
And He was numbered with the transgressors,
And He bore the sin of many,
And made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53)

1 Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 4 And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.

5 But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. (Matthew 28, all NKJV)

Friday, April 18, 2014

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 Lynne Gentry and her newest release, Healer of Carthage.

Click to Mix and Solve

Thursday, April 17, 2014

As much as I enjoy putting words on paper, the life of a full-time writer is not an easy one for an extrovert. Some days the isolation becomes so great I’m forced to take drastic measures to satisfy my cravings for real people. Those are the days I run screaming from the make-believe characters populating my head and walk the mall. I’ve been accused of talking the ears off  perfect strangers.

I’m not one of those writers who can say, “I wrote my first story at age seven and knew one day I would write books.” But I have always been a storyteller. I grew up in rural America. Our dairy farm was fifteen miles from the nearest playmate. I was forced to entertain myself. One of my earliest memories is of me standing on a cattle loading dock with a stick in my hand that doubled as a microphone and a magic wand. With a wave of this wand, my mind quickly transported me into an imaginary world where I played all the characters, good or bad. Another wave of my hand and my stick became a microphone I could talk into for hours.

The stage was the ideal place for me to capitalizing on this ability to make-believe and talk. I went on to become a playwright and drama director. Writing a book never occurred to me until a writing friend thought my second musical would make a good novel. After two years of being holed up with a computer, I had a permanent twitch and 400 pages that will probably never see the light of day. But the grueling process of fleshing out characters, plot, and message had carved a home in my heart.

That was ten years ago. Since then, I’ve been writing every day.

Some days the words flow. Admittedly, they usually flow better after I’ve experienced the stimulation of being around real people. But when those words flow, it’s an extrovert high. I’m once again standing on a cattle loading dock waving a wand. This time it’s at a computer, painting one word picture after another until I’m satisfied that I’ve transported readers from their solitary lives to the exotic places in my head.

If it seems I have an ulterior motive, I do. If I can immerse real people so deeply into my adventure that they forget where they are, I suddenly don’t feel so alone. Please don’t make me walk the mall.

Lynne Gentry has written for numerous publications. Her newest novel, Healer of Carthage, is the first in The Carthage Chronicles series. She is a professional acting coach, theatre director, and playwright with several full-length musicals and children’s theater curriculums to her credit. Lynne is an inspirational speaker and dramatic performer whose first love is spending time with family.

You may learn more about her on her website, or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Don't forget to stop by tomorrow, when you can enter to win a free copy of her latest release, Healer of Carthage, the compelling adventure of a disgraced twenty-first century doctor who discovers healing in the middle of a third century Roman plague.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I love a good mystery, and when it involves the past, it’s even better. Here’s one I just read about.

In Siberia, about 18 miles from the Arctic Circle, archaeologists have excavated 34 shallow graves at a place called Zeleniy Yar. They think the remote spot could have been an important trading crossroads about a thousand years ago.

The graves include 11 bodies with smashed skeletons and shattered or missing skulls. Among the bodies found were five mummies shrouded in copper plating and covered in animal fur. Only one female body was found—a child with her face masked by copper plates. No bodies of adult women were found.

A red-haired man was found, also protected by copper plating. In his grave were furs, an iron hatchet, and a bronze head buckle depicting a bear. Another grave contained an iron combat knife, silver medallion, and a bronze bird figurine which possibility dated from seventh century. Yet another spot on the site contained bronze bowls originating in Persia, about 3,700 miles to the south-west. These dated from the tenth or eleventh centuries.

The bodies weren’t preserved on purpose like those of the Egyptian pharaohs.  The mummification in this case was due to a combination of copper, which prevented oxidation, plus the sinking temperature in the 14th century.

The site was discovered earlier, but digging in the area halted in 2002 due to objections by the locals, who feared the scientists were disturbing the souls of their ancestors. Work is underway again, but I was unable to discover whether the locals ceased to object or were just told to live with it.

When I read about this kind of discovery, I have so many questions. Archaeologists say the shattering of the bones and the missing skulls might have some sort of religious significance. I've noticed archaeologists say that a lot--that things are religious in nature--but I wonder in this case if perhaps there was some sort of fight and the people were just crushed. I also wonder where the people came from. Were some of the people in the graves from Persia? Was the site once a thriving crossroads? If so, what happened to it? Did people actually live there or did they just pass through. And why were there no women buried at the site?

And just for fun, here are some events that happened in the rest of the world one thousand years ago, in 1014: February 14th - Pope Benedict VIII crowns Henry II Roman German Emperor. April 23rd - King Brian Boru of Ireland beats Danes at Battle of Clontarf. July 29th - Battle of Strumitsa-valley: Byzantine destroys Bulgarian armies.

Yes, so many questions. So fascinating.

If you want to read the article from which I got information about Zeleniy Yar, or if you want to see more pictures, go to the Siberian Times.

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