Monday, June 30, 2014

You might just know me as the Monday blogger, and I've had a lot of fun as such. It's been an absolute privilege to work with the talented authors who run this blog. Elizabeth Ludwig (the blog owner and organizer) took me under her wing while I was still in college and had no published books to my name, and I can't thank her enough for that - nor can I thank all of you enough for supporting the BB ("The Borrowed Book")!

But after three (nearly three and a half) awesome years, I'm retiring as the Monday blogger. I'm not retiring from the blogosphere entirely, but with my new job (which I posted about HERE), I decided to simplify my blogging life a tad so I could be more focused. I just wanted you all to know that 1) the blog is in great hands and the rest of the team will continue to post fabulous (and fun!) content; and 2) I'm so grateful for the experience I've had here. Thank you for letting me share about one of my favorite topics - books! - with you all these last few years. :)

You can still find me in the coming days at Seasons of Humility and The Heart's Spring. I'm also working with a designer on having a static "home" site for my books, which I'll post about on one or both of those blogs soon!

I'm sure this isn't the last we'll hear/see of one another (as I said, I'll be around the blogosphere!), but after enjoying this wonderful online home I've been offered here, I thought a brief farewell was due. Big hugs to the BB team and all of our awesome readers!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

So much controversy over sin ... what constitutes sin, which ones are worst, whether it even exists. All that aside, sometimes the weight of things we have done—even of who we are, the constant bent to put ourselves before others, to grasp for recognition or comfort, or even just to sit in a corner and feel sorry for ourselves—is too much to bear.

It doesn’t even have to be the “big” sins, which I’m convinced fall into one of two categories:  those more properly termed indulgences of the flesh, which get a lot of press as “evil” because they are the visible expressions of our human needs and desires, run wild; or what Scripture refers to as “iniquity”—wicked acts, which may or may not be criminal, but spring from the invisible sins of our heart and spirit.

The good news is ... there’s a remedy. There is relief.

Psalm 32 (NKJV)

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no deceit.

Which begs the question ... do we come clean about our wrongdoings, or do we try to squirrel out of admitting we are, indeed, sinners?

When I kept silent, my bones grew old
Through my groaning all the day long.
For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah
I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I have not hidden.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

There are those who charge “the God of the Old Testament” with being cold and distant, even cruel, unmoved by the frailty of humankind. I say ... they don’t know Him. He only presses upon us to bring us to the truth—to make us face who we really are, and our need for Him. And once we surrender to that, sweet release follows.

For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You
In a time when You may be found;
Surely in a flood of great waters
They shall not come near him.
You are my hiding place;
You shall preserve me from trouble;
You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah

Those who are His understand the peace and joy of knowing Him ... of being hidden in the center of any storm, the eye of the hurricane, where over the winds, His voice sings of His nearness and promises that all trouble has an end.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye.
Do not be like the horse or like the mule,
Which have no understanding,
Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle,
Else they will not come near you.

God urges us to not be stubborn, but to let ourselves be led. I confess, I’m one of the most stubborn people I know. I say I want to follow, then I find myself choosing comfort or personal dignity or whatever, over what I feel Him whispering in my spirit is the right way. And then, like a wayward horse, He has to tug me back to the path, with methods that are often less than gentle.

How much better it would be to just keep my eyes on Him, and go where He leads, every time.

10 Many sorrows shall be to the wicked;
But he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him.
11 Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous;
And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

Regardless of the troubles that come, or even what sin wells in my heart, this one thing is true. Mercy surrounds me.

His mercy.

Completely surrounds.

Even me.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

I’m an extrovert who loves people but spends most of her days in isolation, a necessity for writing. One of the many aspects I like about being a full time author is my flexible hours, because I write or do research almost every day. Except for household chores and must-dos such as emptying the dishwasher ten minutes before my husband returns from work, I live like a hermit. Our two sons are young men and live on their own, and my husband leaves early for the office. He appreciates my writing and encourages me, but the truth is when he’s home I get little writing done. 

Yet I mustn’t spend the whole day in front of my computer, even if I’m on a deadline. Since flabby thighs are not my friends, almost every day I force myself to tie on walking shoes and head out the door. While I’m striding along, I often pray, admire the scenery, and prod myself to keep going even if my legs are griping and telling me to cut the walk short. When I’m fatigued, especially if I’m marching up a hill or staircase, is one of the best times to capture an elusive thought. I’ve experienced the phenomenon many times while writing my newest novel, Forever Amish.

On an outing one day, Sally Bingham, a most unusual new heroine, stepped into the spotlight, bringing with her a whirlwind of possibilities, including falling in love with a man and lifestyle opposite of hers. Thus, Forever Amish, the third book in The Legacy of Lancaster Trilogy, took root. With the story’s seed sprouting, I pondered the first two novels, Leaving Lancaster and Pennsylvania  Patchwork. Did I want to write a sequel with the same characters? No, because I was content with the novels’ endings. But I loved the location and some of the other characters too much to say farewell.

Are all my walks bounding with creativity and jubilation? No, but I carry a mini recorder with me at all times, just in case; I don’t want to forget any precious nuggets that might breeze through my mind. Weird as it may sound, I can spend a morning pondering a single word or a plot situation if stuck in the house. But it sometimes pops right into my mind once I’m zig-zagging the neighborhood or walking in the nature preserve near my home. So far I haven’t gotten lost.

Puget Sound is notorious for its plentiful and gloomy rainfall; we broke all records the last few months. Rubber boots and a rainproof hooded coat are musts or I’d never get outside. On sunny days, the Pacific Northwest can seem ideal, but its weather is fickle and moody. I do grow weary of months of overcast skies but it’s a perfect situation for writing.

When walking, I often pause to take photographs. I enjoy peeking into small gardens and at front doors. There’s a story behind every one! But I must remind myself to keep watch where I’m stepping; the sidewalks are uneven and cars streak past. Now, if I twisted an ankle, I’d really be restricted to the couch. In that case, I’d write, write, write. 

Author Kate Lloyd, a native of Baltimore, spends time with family and friends in Lancaster County, PA, the inspiration for her bestselling novels Leaving Lancaster and Pennsylvania Patchwork. Forever Amish, the third novel in the Legacy of Lancaster Trilogy, released June 5th, 2014.

She and her husband live in the Pacific Northwest, the setting for Kate’s first novel, A Portrait of Marguerite. Kate studied art and art history in college. She’s worked a variety of jobs, including car salesman and restaurateur.

Learn more about Kate Lloyd on her website and her blog. You may also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter  and Pinterest

Make sure to stop by tomorrow, when you can enter to win a free copy of Forever Amish!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Looking for a cure for your headache? Try a live toad, applied topically. Perhaps you have kidney issues. Cut a live toad in half and apply it directly to your body. If your child has a problem wetting the bed, make an amulet out of toad ashes, and have the kid wear it. Yep. Toads. At one time they were considered a multi-purpose cure-all. 

“Toad cures” first appeared in Roman times. Powdered, toads were administered to promote a free flow of urine.  In the 1600s and 1700s doctors used powdered toad to cure cancerous ulcers. Live toads were used to cure cancerous breasts (I’m not sure how). But in the 1800s, a certain group of doctors used toads exclusively. These guys were called “toad doctors” and they operated in western England.

Toad doctors’ primary use of toads was to cure the “King’s Evil,” also called scrofula. Scrofula is a form of tuberculosis that affects the lymph nodes in the neck. One remedy was to tear the legs from living toads, which were then placed in bags and worn around the neck. Another was to put a living toad in a bag and hang it in the room of the sufferer. As the toad died and withered away, so, it was said, would the disease.

But toad doctors treated more than just scrofula. They traveled the countryside selling parts of the toads, sometimes raw, sometimes powdered. One doctor recommended using the venom of the toad in cases of epilepsy, rabies, and paralysis.

But not everyone believed. Critics questioned the medicinal use of toads even as early as the 1700s. By the 1800s, the use of toads as medicine was associated with superstition. Regular doctors protested that toads had little value as medicine. By 1900, toad doctors had ceased operating.

But before you laugh and wonder how anyone can be so stupid as to believe that toads can cure anything, I found a scientific study that claims, “Toad skin-secretions are potent source of drugs. It's probably the only such source in nature from where we can get nearly six types of drugs possessing analgesic, painkiller, antibiotic, anti-viral and anti-cancerous properties as well as possessing potential of treating cardiovascular diseases.” (Read the article here: Toad skin-secretions: Potent source of pharmacologicallyand therapeutically significant compounds).

So, is it possible that the powdered toad administered by toad doctors might have contained an active ingredient that had some medicinal value?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

I recall a vocal coach remarking that as a singer part of her was continuously thinking of, preparing to, or actually singing. The same holds true for me as a writer. In my mind, I’m always writing. I’ve dabbled in many of the arts—painting, sculpture, singing, photography, and dance, but only writing fiction has grabbed hold of me and won’t let go. Not that I want it to. I love the English language and writing is my greatest pleasure!

I’ve always had what some grown-ups call an overly active imagination and I continue to play make-believe. As I navigate my day I find myself pondering new ideas for novels or musing over a blog piece I need to write. Tackling the mundane duties of life, in the grocery store, I might notice a couple either infatuated with each other or arguing, and create a storyline to incorporate them. While weeding in my garden or doing laundry, ideas transport me from my ho-hum chores and convey me to exotic locations where I meet fascinating fictional people of my making. Writing in my head makes all activities fun.

I love to read fiction in bed at night. My eyes examine each sentence with curiosity and admiration if I’ve discovered an accomplished author or characters who have caught my fancy. Delving into non-fiction, I might glean knowledge I’ll use later, including Biblical passages or a verse that hits home. I underline and circle words and sentences, jot notes in the margin, and sometimes turn around and reread an entire novel, using it as a textbook. I am always striving to improve my craft. 

My written stories, with all their twists and turns, continue to meander through my brain, even after the final edit and my novel has been published by David C. Cook, so there’s no going back. The characters of my recent novel Forever Amish, the third in The Legacy of Lancaster Trilogy, travel with me as dear companions. Sometimes I must remind myself that it's time to move on and let my readers meet them and evaluate what I hope is a captivating and unique story.           

Author Kate Lloyd, a native of Baltimore, spends time with family and friends in Lancaster County, PA, the inspiration for her bestselling novels Leaving Lancaster and Pennsylvania Patchwork. Forever Amish, the third novel in the Legacy of Lancaster Trilogy, released June 5th, 2014.

She and her husband live in the Pacific Northwest, the setting for Kate’s first novel, A Portrait of Marguerite. Kate studied art and art history in college. She’s worked a variety of jobs, including car salesman and restaurateur.

Learn more about Kate Lloyd on her website: and her blog: 

Like her on Facebook: 

Follower her on Twitter: @KateLloydAuthor and Pinterest: @KateLloydAuthor

Monday, June 23, 2014

We're celebrating a book birthday today! The Word Changers - a YA Christian fantasy by Ashlee Willis - has been officially released:

About the Book

Her parents’ marriage is falling apart. Fifteen-year-old Posy feels her life is falling apart with it. Retreating to an old library down the street, she selects a mysterious book in a secluded corner and is magically drawn into its story...

Posy finds herself in a kingdom ruled by a cruel and manipulative king and queen who have attempted to usurp the role that belongs only to the Author of their story. The princess has fled and the kingdom is teetering toward rebellion. Posy is joined by the Prince Kyran as they fight with the characters of the story against their slavery to the Plot.

Posy and the prince search beyond the borders of the story for the runaway princess. They visit mysterious places, face horrifying monsters, and fight fierce battles. They make both friends and enemies as their journey leads them into many dangers. But some of the worst dangers, Posy soon finds, lie deep within her own heart.

Now Posy must find the courage and forgiveness needed to save the story and, most important, heal the heartache she knew in her own world.

Now available for purchase:

In honor of the occasion, we've got a fun interview with King Melanthius, one of the characters of the book - and a special giveaway! Read on...

* * * 

The Author: So … the elephant in the room … you are, in fact, a character in a book. How long have you known this? Does it trouble you at all? 

King Melanthius: Trouble me? You must be jesting. The part I have in the Plot is perhaps more important than any other. I would have it no other way, in fact. I control the Plot … ahem, that is, I protect the Plot. There can be no greater role in a book than that. I would say I was born knowing I was a character, but my way of being born was different than yours. I’ve never been an infant or even a child. I have always been as you see me – an adult, a ruler. A king. 

The Author: Explain to me the process of what happens when someone reads your story. Are you aware it is being read?

King Melanthius: Of course I am aware of it. What a foolish question! The wind blows, new smells fill the air, trees whisper and characters stir … everything is brighter and more alive, just as a book is meant to be when it is read. When a reader comes, the characters come into their own. Fulfilling the Plot is what we are meant to do, you know.

The Author: Does it ever get boring, living the same tale over and over again? Does the Plot ever change? Do you, as its “keeper” ever take the liberty of changing the Author’s words? 

King Melanthius: Ahem … well, I must admit there are times that the Plot is a hard taskmaster. But the time between readers is our own, to do with as we please, and that helps lighten the tedium. Most of my free time is spent in council meetings with those blasted owls, though … As for changing the Plot – who can tell? Our story is age-old, so old there are none left who can remember exactly how it was written or why. You speak of an Author: we know of no such person or creature. Some do still speak of him, but only in myths and wives’ tales. I for one turn a deaf ear to those tales. I would advise you to do the same.

The Author: Confession: I’ve heard a rumor that your daughter, Princess Evanthe, ran away a few days ago and has not been seen since. Did something happen between the two of you to cause her to abandon her role in the Plot? 

King Melanthius: That is none of your concern. Refrain from questioning me on such intimate matters or I will leave straight away.

The Author: Very well – here is a question a bit less close to home: There is a place in your story called the Wild Land. Can you tell me about it? Why does everyone have such a morbid fascination with that cursed place?

King Melanthius: The Wild Land is beyond the Borders of the Plot, and the creatures who live there are dangerous – do you hear me? Dangerous! Some of them are even characters who have abandoned their places within the Plot. Traitors, in short. We do not speak of that place or those people. I will say no more. I think it is time I returned to my duties, in fact. I have a book … I mean, a kingdom, to run. An intruder named Petunia … or perhaps it was Posy … has just dropped into our story and all chaos will break loose if something isn’t done about her immediately. Good day.

* * * 

About the Author

Ashlee has a passion for three things: God, family, and books, and is happiest when all three can be enjoyed together.  Ashlee graduated from Central Christian College of the Bible with a Bachelor of Science in Christian Education. She divides her time chiefly between homeschooling her young son, reading about fantasy worlds she wishes she could visit, and dreaming up fantasy worlds of her own to write about. She loves taking walks in the woods, drinking tea with friends, and spending time with the ones she loves most.  Ashlee lives in the heart of Missouri with her husband, son, and cat, where she is busily at work on her next book, also a fantasy for young adults.

Find Ashlee on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads, and at

* * * 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, June 22, 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: 
Lis K (garfsgirl [at] hotmail [dot] com ) - Heart's Pursuit by Robin Lee Hatcher.
Congratulations, Lis! Thank you all so much for stopping by The Borrowed Book.

In conversation this week with a neighbor who is facing a steep moral dilemma, the subject came up of whether God always protects us from the consequences when we “do the right thing.” Sometimes, of course, He doesn’t. In those cases, He doesn’t let us take the heat without a specific purpose in mind. But, I told her, He can protect us, and often does.

So, for you, Jill ...

Psalm 31 (NKJV) ... A Psalm of David

In You, O Lord, I put my trust;
Let me never be ashamed;
Deliver me in Your righteousness.
Bow down Your ear to me,
Deliver me speedily;
Be my rock of refuge,
A fortress of defense to save me.

She made the comment to me, everything is “cool” nowadays except having a moral compass. People who believe in an absolute right and wrong—especially if they’re open about basing that on Scripture—are painted as the worst kind of idiot. I suspect it’s always been the case, human nature being what it is, and given how often this plea shows up in David’s prayers ... let me never be ashamed.

For You are my rock and my fortress;
Therefore, for Your name’s sake,
Lead me and guide me.
Pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me,
For You are my strength.
Into Your hand I commit my spirit;
You have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.

I have hated those who regard useless idols;
But I trust in the Lord.
I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy,
For You have considered my trouble;
You have known my soul in adversities,
And have not shut me up into the hand of the enemy;
You have set my feet in a wide place.

One might argue that as Christian, we aren’t supposed to hate ... but I suspect that what is defined as “hate” here isn’t exactly what we think. The focus here is on a situation where a believer is being hassled by those who don’t ascribe to God’s truth as the final authority, but who give their energy and allegiance to “useless idols”—things which seem to have power and influence, but cannot really save us. It’s easy to talk about living our faith radically enough to have people angry with us, but to actually experience it is terrifying ...

Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am in trouble;
My eye wastes away with grief,
Yes, my soul and my body!
10 For my life is spent with grief,
And my years with sighing;
My strength fails because of my iniquity,
And my bones waste away.
11 I am a reproach among all my enemies,
But especially among my neighbors,
And am repulsive to my acquaintances;
Those who see me outside flee from me.
12 I am forgotten like a dead man, out of mind;
I am like a broken vessel.
13 For I hear the slander of many;
Fear is on every side;
While they take counsel together against me,
They scheme to take away my life.

14 But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord;
I say, “You are my God.”
15 My times are in Your hand;
Deliver me from the hand of my enemies,
And from those who persecute me.
16 Make Your face shine upon Your servant;
Save me for Your mercies’ sake.
17 Do not let me be ashamed, O Lord, for I have called upon You;
Let the wicked be ashamed;
Let them be silent in the grave.
18 Let the lying lips be put to silence,
Which speak insolent things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.

And here it is ... every detail of everything we experience is held in God’s hand. He alone is worthy of our complete trust, because He alone has the power to pull us out of whatever trouble we might be going through. And even when He doesn’t—at least not immediately—we can know that at some point, He will put an end to those who rise up against us, and Him.

19 Oh, how great is Your goodness,
Which You have laid up for those who fear You,
Which You have prepared for those who trust in You
In the presence of the sons of men!
20 You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence
From the plots of man;
You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion
From the strife of tongues.

21 Blessed be the Lord,
For He has shown me His marvelous kindness in a strong city!
22 For I said in my haste,
“I am cut off from before Your eyes”;
Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications
When I cried out to You.

Even in those moments when we’re sure God has forgotten us, when whatever we’re going through is beyond His notice, we can know He hears us, and sees. His goodness is FOR us, not against us! Even in the midst of trouble, we can rest in His presence, where His peace  holds sway over our very core.

23 Oh, love the Lord, all you His saints!
For the Lord preserves the faithful,
And fully repays the proud person.
24 Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart,
All you who hope in the Lord.

Friday, June 20, 2014

It's Fun Friday at The Borrowed Book! This week's prize is available to residents inside the continental US only.

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 Robin Lee Hatcher and her newest release, Heart's Pursuit.

Click to Mix and Solve

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Have you always wanted to be an author? If not, what made you decide to write, and how long have you been at it?

No, I didn’t always want to be a writer. Not as a profession anyway. But I have always written for pleasure. Several things led up to the moment when I decided to try to write my first book. The final straw was a book I read with an ending that I found unsatisfactory. So I decided to see if I could write a novel of my own. That book, written in 1981, was published in 1984. Which means I have been writing for over 33 years now.

Have you ever had a funny experience connected with being an author?

Plenty of them. Perhaps the funniest was when a woman came rushing into a book signing, so excited to meet me that she hyperventilated and began to faint. I jumped up and gave her my chair and waited for the “vapors” to pass.

Are you a plotter, a pantser, or a combination?

100% pantser. I get up in the morning and go into my office with one purpose in mind—to see what happens next in my story.

Do you write full time, or do you work it in alongside a full-time job?

I wrote my first nine novels while working a full-time day job. But I resigned to write full time in January 1991 and have been doing so ever since.

What do your kids think about your being a writer?

I have two grown daughters. They were ten and twelve when I began writing my first book. I know they are both proud of me, but they also have no illusions about the writing business. A friend once asked my youngest daughter if she wanted to be a writer like her mother. She answered, “Are you kidding? My mom’s been on deadline for over twenty years!”

How do you get your best ideas?

Ideas are a dime a dozen. They come from my subconscious, and I never know what will bring one to the surface. I just wait until something grabs my imagination and won’t let go. Then that is the story I write.

What do you do to get past writer’s block?

For me, writer’s block means I don’t know my character’s motivation well enough. So I go back to examining that character’s life from birth to the moment the story opens. When I know the character’s history, I’ll know why and how she or he will respond to whatever complications I write into her or his life. That usually breaks me free.  

Do you write every day? What does your typical writing day look like?

I write every day but Sunday. I am usually at my desk around 6:00 AM. I try to begin my day with a quiet time with the Lord. Then I clear out the email that came in overnight. I’m usually writing by 8:00 AM. I write until noon, break for lunch, then in the afternoon, I tackle what I call the “business of writing” (edits, marketing, bookkeeping, social media, etc.).

Do you have any rituals you like to go through before you start writing, such as make yourself a cup of coffee or tea? Do calisthenics to get the blood flowing? Lock yourself in a room and warn your family not to disturb you upon pain of death? Read something inspiring? Pray?

I write with a large mug of coffee on a mug warmer not too far from my right arm (but plenty of distance away from my keyboard and computer). I’m a sipper, so that mug warmer is essential.

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

I walk, mostly on the treadmill. My goal is 10,000 steps a day (which works out to over four miles) although I haven’t made my goal on a regular basis in far too long. I wear a FitBit to count my steps. That little device encourages me to get up and move.

Do you have any pets? Do you own them, or they you?

We have a dog, Poppet, and a cat, Pinky, and they own us. No doubt on that score. I cannot imagine a home without at least one pet. They bring me too much joy.

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

My mother always told me my first word was “horse” so it should come as no surprise that I am a passionate lover of horses. I haven’t owned a horse in thirty years, but I passed that love along and both of my daughters and one of my granddaughters each own a horse.

Best-selling novelist Robin Lee Hatcher—author of over 70 books—is known for her heartwarming Links to her social media pages can be found at the top of her site.
and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. She and her husband make their home in Idaho where she enjoys spending time with her family, her high-maintenance Papillon, Poppet, and Princess Pinky, the DC (demon cat). You can learn more about Robin and her books by visiting her web site at

Make sure to stop by tomorrow, when you can enter to win a free copy of Robin's latest release, The Heart's Pursuit!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Have you ever wondered where the expressions "tying the knot" or "giving one's hand in marriage" come
from? They are in reference to the ancient tradition of handfasting. I learned about the custom some time ago while researching Celtic traditions for a series of historicals I was working on. I found the ritual interesting, especially since people still incorporate variations of the handfasting ceremony today. 

The phrase “tying the knot” comes from an old Irish tradition that symbolizes the bond of marriage in the same way that we would think of the exchanging of rings. At the point in the ceremony where the husband and wife demonstrate the bond between them, the couple clasp their hands together, and a brightly colored ribbon, cord, or rope is wound around their joined hands as a symbol of their agreement to spend their lives together. The ceremony was especially common in Ireland and Scotland because priests were not always available in each town to perform wedding ceremonies. Marriage was considered legally binding once the couple had performed the handfasting ceremony. 

Though the custom is considered to be a Celtic tradition, handfasting was originally practiced by the Greeks and Romans. A garland was created made of magnolia, elder and roses which was then wrapped around the couple’s wrists to signify love and fidelity. Variations on the theme have since been used in other countries as well. Today many couples choose handfasting to honor an Irish/Scottish heritage or if they really love the symbolism of the ritual. Even Prince William and Catherine incorporated handfasting in their royal wedding in 2011. 

To learn more about the tradition of handfasting visit

Elizabeth Ludwig is the award-winning author of the popular Edge of Freedom series. Her literary blog,
The Borrowed Book, enjoys a wide readership. Elizabeth is an accomplished speaker and teacher, often attending conferences and seminars where she lectures on editing for fiction writers, crafting effective novel proposals, and conducting successful editor/agent interviews. Along with her husband and children, she makes her home in the great state of Texas. To learn more, visit

Contact Elizabeth: HERE

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