Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I was asked to join another Amish author to write a Christmas anthology, and I asked my agent permission. She contacted Whitaker House for permission and they wanted to do a Christmas Amish story.  

I had a conversation with my editor there and she said that she wanted it set in Webster County and characters from all the previous books revisited. So I thought about that awhile. 

The obvious answer was the hero. My hero, Abram, in Awakened Love had a twin brother named Abner who moved to Montana – What if Abner went to visit Abram in Seymour, Missouri, to meet Abram’s new wife, Katie? Ahh, his story was born. 

That left the heroine.  I thought about that, and God directed me to an article about Amish going deep sea fishing… What if her fiancĂ© goes fishing on Lake Michigan during his rumspringe (running around time)… and dies?  And what if she is hired as a mother’s helper in Seymour (to another character set) Matthew and Shanna from A Harvest of Hearts. 

I wrote the blurb - A White Christmas in Webster County (September 2014, Whitaker House)

Wanting to relocate from Shipshewana to somewhere new, Mercy Lapp answered an ad in The Budget to work as a mother’s helper for Matthew and Shanna Yoder in Seymour, Missouri. Mercy relocated from Shipshewana to give herself space and time to heal after the death of her beau in a fishing trip on Lake Michigan. Abner Hilty fled Shipshewana to Montana to work on a ranch after he and his twin brother witnessed a murder. Now that the killer is safely behind bars, Abner decides to visit his brother Abram in Missouri where he’d settled with his bride of one month. Mercy is surprised to see Abner there, and equally surprised by how much he’d changed physically since she’d last seen him. Even though the two live in different districts they occasionally see each other in town and form a fledging friendship. As Christmas approaches, an unexpected heavy snow lets Abner and Mercy spend a lot of time together in wintertime fun. Abner hopes to interest Mercy in a more permanent relationship. But then Mercy has a potentially life changing discovery. Will she return to Shipshewana to answer the summons of the past? Or settle in a new place? 

After my agent submitted it to Whitaker House, I concentrated on my next contracted book.  The call came on December 19—my wedding anniversary. My family was going to Jonesboro, Arkansas to go Christmas shopping, and my agent called while we were on the road. 


I was so excited! I wanted to write this story. But it meant that I had to quit writing my contracted book, write this one, and then go back to the other, as this one had a much nearer deadline. 

Award winning author, Laura Hilton, her husband, Steve, and their five children make their home in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas. She is a pastor’s wife, a stay-at-home mom and home-schools three of her children. Her two oldest children are homeschool graduates and are in college. Laura is also a breast cancer survivor.


Laura on the Web; 
twitter: @Laura_V_Hilton

Purchase my books:

Deeper Shoppinghttp://www.deepershopping.com/index.php?query=laura+hilton&x=0&y=0&module=productsearch&_logmode=Y&querymodule=SPX

Sunday, September 28, 2014

(This post first appeared February 24, 2013.)

In C.S. Lewis’s classic theological sci-fi tale, Perelandra, the main character, Dr. Elwin Ransom, is sent on a journey to the planet Venus—or, in their language, Perelandra—which is in its own Eden, with the mission of averting the new world’s impending Fall. He finds it a world of floating islands in a vast, warm ocean, and there he comes face to face with this world’s Eve—a beautiful, innocent woman destined to be the mother of all Perelandra’s living. He has the unenviable task of explaining our world’s psychology:

“...in our world not all events are pleasing or welcome...”
“But how can one wish any of those waves not to reach us which Maleldil [the Creator] is rolling towards us?”

Ransom counters by pointing out her own disappointment, however momentary, at seeing him, a stranger, when she’d hoped for her husband, this world’s Adam.

She grasps the concept, expands upon it, and summarizes,

“... You could send your soul after the good you had expected, instead of turning it to the good you had got. You could refuse the real good; you could make the real fruit taste insipid by thinking of the other.”

So often...so very often... I find myself in that place. Grasping for what used to be—or for what I think should come ahead—that I cannot focus on and savor the gift that God has placed in my hands, today.

And then there is the place of knowing something is coming—of seeing two or more alternate paths before me, but dreading them all. I shared before how I stood in that place many years ago after the birth of my sixth baby—I didn’t think I could face the possibility of his surviving as a medically fragile child, but losing him completely was hardly a better alternative.

I’m facing a similar crisis in our family’s future, one thankfully not as dire as the life of a child hanging in the balance. But oh, I find myself full of terror for whatever might come, standing in that trough between waves. This is not the response the Maker of the sea would want me to have, I know.

I wonder, when Jesus invited Peter to step out of that boat and onto the surface of the stormy lake of Galilee, was Peter terrified? He had to be. Sure, he must have been drawn by the lure of adventure—he was a strong, hearty fisherman, quicker to act than think—but to say his heart didn’t pound or his head didn’t swim (no pun intended!) as he climbed over the side and onto the waves, well ... I can’t imagine that.

Of course, there’s the other time, when Jesus lay asleep in the back of the boat, and the storm came up, and the disciples feared for their lives before finally going to wake Him up. He stilled the storm, then rebuked them for their lack of faith.

What’s the difference, then? Maybe it’s daring to step out of the boat, to come where He calls me, however crazy it looks, regardless of how my heart pounds with terror—as opposed to continuing to deal with a crisis on my own strength, not wanting to “bother” Him with my paltry fears, until at last I’m driven to His feet by my desperation.

All right, then. As the Lady in Perelandra says,

“I thought … that I was carried in the will of Him I love, but now I see that I walk with it. I thought that the good things He sent me drew me into them as the waves lift the islands; but now I see that it is I who plunge into them with my own legs and arms, as when we go swimming. I feel as if I were living in that roofless world of yours when men walk undefended beneath naked heaven. It is delight with terror in it. One’s own self to be walking from one good to another, walking beside Him as Himself may walk .... The world is so much larger than I thought. I thought we went along paths—but it seems there are no paths. The going itself is the path.”

I’ll step out, Lord—and I’ll walk, wherever You might call. Help me to embrace the waves You roll toward me.

Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” (Matthew 8:25-27)

But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. (Matthew 14:30-32, both NKJV)

Friday, September 26, 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 and...you 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 Caroll and her newest release, Hidden in the Stars.

Click to Mix and Solve

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Today we're speaking with Robin Caroll, author of 22 published novels. Her books have been named finalists in contests such as the Carol Awards, HOLT Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, RT Reviewer’s Choice Award, Bookseller’s Best and Book of the Year. She gives back to the writing community by serving as conference director for American Christian Fiction Writers.

Thank you, Robin, for taking the time to visit with us today. You've been at this quite a while now. Have you ever had a funny experience connected with being an author? For instance, has someone ever overheard you discussing the merits of one murder weapon over another or caught you shooting at a can of gasoline to see if you could make it explode? 

One time, I had arrived at the hotel before a writer’s conference three days early. Another writer and I were riding up in the elevator with a couple of other people. We’d been brainstorming over lunch, and my mind was still on that discussion when all of a sudden, I realized a perfect plot point. I turned to my friend and said, “I know how they got rid of the body.” She and I began a discussion on how my antagonist and partner hid their victim’s body and it was never recovered. Only after going up ten floors did I realize that the older couple in the elevator car with us had backed themselves almost entirely into a corner and stared at us with extremely wide eyes. I had to quickly explain that we were discussing a fictional plot and luckily, I had one of my author business cards in my pocket that I was able to share with them as proof.
That's classic! I love it! What do your kids think about your being a writer?

My family has as warped a sense of humor as I do. When a new man joined my husband’s men’s group at church, he asked my husband “does your wife work outside the home?” My husband answered, “my wife kills people for a living.”

Luckily, one of our mutual friends was kind enough to explain to the new man that I wrote mystery/suspense. My kids are just as bad. They tell people that their mom kills people and hides the bodies. New school years are always fun until I meet the teachers. From what they’re told when my kids fill out those multiple forms of what your parents do, those teachers probably think I’m a hitman. It’s always fun to see the relief on their faces when I explain, but it’s fun because my husband and kids enjoy messing with people like that.


What’s your favorite method for keeping a story’s middle from sagging?

Honestly? If I get to the middle and I feel like it’s starting to drag a little, I’ll start throwing up ideas for worse case scenarios. One time, it worked so well that I ended up killing the antagonist so I had to go back and weave in clues to make it someone else. That was actually fun, even if it was a bit scary. But killing off a character is always good to avoid a slow middle. 

Thanks, Robin, for sharing some of your stories with us!

Born and raised in Louisiana, Caroll is a southerner through and through. Her passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others. An avid reader herself, she loves hearing from and chatting with other readers.

When she isn’t writing, Caroll spends time with her husband of 25 years, her three beautiful daughters and two handsome grandsons and their character-filled pets at home in Little Rock, Arkansas.

For more information about Robin Caroll and her books, visit her online home at www.robincaroll.com. She is also active on Facebook and Twitter.

Don't forget to stop by tomorrow, when you can enter to win a free copy of Robin's latest title, Hidden in the Stars.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


click to buy from your choice of platform/storeSarah Sundin’s World War II historical romance, In Perfect Time, is the final novel in the Wings of the Nightingale series.  Sarah expertly uses her talents to draw the reader into the World War II era with her penchant for detail. She manages to provide (in her words) “drama, daring and romance” into her books. Sarah skillfully weaves her story of the flight nurses efforts as well as the pilots who risked their lives to transport between Italy and southern France evacuating wounded and delivering supplies to hospitals.  She centers her story around the lives of two main characters: Army Air Force flight nurse Kay Johnson and C-47 pilot Roger Cooper.
Beautiful flirtatious Lt. Kay Johnson, driven by her memories of her father’s condescending words that she was unworthy of any love even from God, “he called her irredeemable”, collects men’s hearts across the European airfields. Kay is a good flight nurse and wants to pursue her career by attending the chief nursing school before the war ends, but her loose reputation as well as her inability to unify her group of six flight nurses could hinder her chances at being selected as a candidate.
Handsome daring pilot Lt. Roger Cooper, a musician at heart, dreams of making it big as a drummer in a Big Band after the war, but until that time he continues to fly C-47 planes flying the wounded, paratroopers, and supplies across Europe. Having given up his past life of being bad boy when he got saved, he is known as “preacher man” as he carries his Bible with him even on his flights. But his reputation for being “late all the time, writing sloppy reports, and pulling pranks on other pilots” doesn’t sit well with his squadron commander Major Bill Veerman, brother to Big Band Leader Hank Veerman. Roger determines to prove himself reliable, to gain the respect from his squadron commander and to receive a possible recommendation for a rehearsal with Veerman’s band in the states.
As Kay and Roger find themselves working side by side in their efforts to evacuate the wounded to safety, their relationship slowly develops. When Kay comes on strong to Roger, although captivated by Nurse Johnson, he avoids her advances, knowing her reputation of loving and leaving; although he can’t deny the respect he has for her skills and capabilities as an excellent flight nurse. 

I would very much recommend this book. It was very entertaining and informative of the WWII era. The plot was very well developed and kept me reading to the end. Future readings will most likely include her other novels prior to In Perfect Time.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I’m often asked how I get ideas for my books. I always want to answer, “Where don’t I get ideas?” 

I get character ideas by people watching. Airports are especially great outlets for this. I watch people. I study them. Yes, even been known to snap a picture of one with my cell phone because of a certain hairstyle, or quirk, or expression. All of this information filters down and finds its way into a character. 

I also get ideas from watching documentaries. For instance, the germ of an idea for my most recent book, Hidden in the Stars, came about because I’d watched a documentary of the successful Russian ballet company. It was in my brain when I flipped channels after it was over and saw the longest news segment of all the Olympic-hype. My mind immediately went to playing the “what if” game... What if I blended ballet and Olympics? What if I made some of the most beautiful ballet costumes integral to solving the crime in the book? And thus, the basic concept for Hidden in the Stars was born.

Ideas are everywhere, you just have to look for them. Now, back to the game. What if a writer was on tight deadline? What if she kept playing on email and the internet instead of making her word count? What if...?



Robin Caroll is the author of 22 published novels. Her books have been named finalists in contests such as the Carol Awards, HOLT Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, RT Reviewer’s Choice Award, Bookseller’s Best and Book of the Year. She gives back to the writing community by serving as conference director for American Christian Fiction Writers.


For more information about Robin Caroll and her books, visit her online home at www.robincaroll.com. She is also active on Facebook and Twitter. 

Sunday, September 21, 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: 

Melanie Backus (
mauback55 at gmail dot com)  - Chapel Springs Revival by Ane Mulligan.
 
Congratulations! Thank you all so much for stopping by The Borrowed Book.
 (This post first appeared February 17, 2013.)

“I suppose I shouldn’t look back,” my friend said, reminiscing about skiing with her husband in the early years of her marriage—something that, years later, seems a foolish indulgence. Ministry, family, financial pressures all combine to make her older, her outlook wiser and more realistic ...

Or is it?

I thought about her words for a moment. “Why not? I asked. “Be glad you have those memories to look back on.”

Am I suggesting she waste valuable time mooning over a past that she can’t bring back? Absolutely not. There’s a balance to be struck, after all. “Do not say, ‘Why were the former days better than these?’” Solomon admonishes in Ecclesiastes. We do ourselves no favors to be so mired in the past we can’t function in the present.

On the other hand, our past and our memories of it are exactly that—ours. They’re part of the fabric of who we are, another element in the tapestry that God promises He will work together for our good.

I wonder if it isn’t time for us to stop feeling guilty about where our pasts have led us.

If it was sin, then call it so—lay it before God and move on. But the blessings we enjoyed? Wouldn’t it be better to do as the recent worship song says, take every blessing He's poured out and offer it in praise?

And not only for past blessings, but present ones.

“When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you. Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God....lest—when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; and when your herds and flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; when your heart is lifted up....then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’ And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth ...” (Deuteronomy 7:10-14, 17-18)


The last thing any of us wants is to be in a place down the road where we are asking ourselves, Why were the former days better...? I don’t believe in a prosperity gospel or in formulas that guarantee desired outcomes of our Christian life. But could it be that it’s the practice of reveling in God who is blessing us, and not just in the blessings themselves, that keeps us in the place of blessing? Or that God brings us to those places of dryness to make us lift our heads and remember that all blessings are from His hand, whether past or present?

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked shall I return there.
The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the LORD.
...Shall we indeed accept good from God,
and shall we not accept adversity?”
In all this Job did not sin with his lips. (Job 1:21, 2:10)

Friday, September 19, 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 and...you 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 Ane Mulligan and her newest release, Chapel Springs Revival.

 Click to Mix and Solve

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Ane Mulligan writes Southern-fried fiction served with a tall, sweet iced tea. She's a novelist, a humor columnist, and a multi-published playwright. President of the award-winning literary site, Novel Rocket, she resides in Suwanee, GA, with her artist husband , their chef son, and two dogs of Biblical proportion. Chapel Springs Revival is her debut novel.  "With a friend like Claire, you need a gurney, a mop, and a guardian angel." You can find Ane at her website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.

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

I had no idea I would be a writer. I was five years old when I saw Mary Martin in PETER PAN, and I was struck with a fever from which I never recovered. Stage fever. I submerged myself in drama through high school and college, but, alas, Broadway never found my phone number.

As a kid, I was too ADHD to sit and write, but I loved to tell stories. Back in the stone age of my youth it was called lying. I spent a lot of time in the principal's office, until one day, he listened to me tell one. He recognized the future writer and I was off the hook. Until I grew up and learned to direct my energy, I played out my stories with my dolls, some lasting for weeks.

In 1996, I began writing plays for my church. My first one was published through LifeWay and the editor took everything I sent after that. It wasn't until I had left a job and was looking for something to do and Hubs said, "Why don't you write a book?"

And with those words, the idea was born for my first ever novel. Yvonne Anderson was one of the first people who critiqued my work. As a playwright, I knew dialogue. But that was all I knew. POV? Never heard the term. Omniscient? That's what God was. Show don't tell? How do I tell a story without telling? Yikes! But Y stuck with me, along with some other crit partners.

How sweet of you to say that, Ane! Really, though, we learned from each other along the way. What do you love about being a writer, and what do you like the least?

It's not that I dislike it, but creating the first draft is the hardest for me. I love the editing process, and my favorite part of all is the building of characters. I love to brainstorm and to dig deep into their psyches to discover their fears and secrets.

How do you get your best ideas?

From life. My debut book, Chapel Springs Revival, came from a conversation I overheard at church. Well, she was sitting right behind me. I couldn't avoid hearing. The young woman said, "I just learned that God has a perfect mate picked out for me, so I'm going to divorce John* and go find him."

In the sequel Chapel Springs Survival, I used something out of our son's life. There are stories everywhere, if you just look.

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

I have a walking route I like. It starts at the coffee pot, goes through the refrigerator and past the chocolate cupboard before ending up at my writing chair. 

Umm... that doesn't count, dear.

What do you mean? Well, okay. I go to the gym three times a week with a good friend who feeds me story fodder.

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

Anyone who follows me on Facebook knows all about our English mastiffs. When our old dog died, I didn't want another one. I wanted some time to travel, but Hubs and Son couldn't stand it. Within two months, we drove to Alabama and picked out Shadrach.

Christmas 2012, Hubs and Son decided we needed another one to keep Shadrach company. I said absolutely not. Absolutely Not's name is Oliver Twist.

Shad is eight years old and a respectable 220 pounds. Ollie will be bigger. At 18 months, he's already taller than Shadrach, and the vet thinks he should come in about 235 when he's full grown.


Mastiffs are like two-year-olds. They definitely own us.


A 200-pound two-year-old? Now there's a horror story waiting to be written.

Thanks, Ane, for stopping by and making us laugh. (You're so good at that!)



Readers, don't forget to come by tomorrow, when you can enter to win a free copy of Ane's debut novel, Chapel Springs Revival!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Contrary to popular belief, backstory is a good thing. Now, before y'all call for a lynching party, let me tell you what it' good for and what it's not good for. After all, backstory helps you, the author know your character. What makes her tick? What formed her worldview? Why does he dislike women who have a good business head? 

Let's get the "not" out of the way first. The reader does not need to know the backstory of your characters to understand the plot—at least not in the beginning. A bit of mystery about the character is a good thing. It draws the reader onward to find out why this otherwise nice guy is so antagonistic to the heroine.

I always tell new writers to think of it this way. You're attending a party, and you host introduces you to a new neighbor. You start off the conversation by telling her your life history, and the new neighbor will be in jeopardy of whiplash, looking for the host to rescue her. 

Readers who are bombarded with backstory in the first few chapters of a novel with either ski over it or close the book for good. Either way, your time has been wasted by putting it in.

Now, let's look at what backstory is good for and how to discover it. First, I conduct a character interview (CI). Think of that as a journalist interviewing a subject for an article. In my CI, I dig and prod for the character's secrets and for his or her fears. What happened in their childhood that had a major effect of them?

After I've completed the CI, I write a stream of consciousness (SOC) backstory. This is where I go back two or more generations. People are the product of their ancestors' worldview. For example, let's say your great grandparents lived through the Great Depression. They probably could get more for a quarter than anyone you know. They taught your grandparents, who taught your parents. But did your parents continue that trait or did they, because of their more affluent status, break away from it?

It's within the SOC backstory where I discover so much about my character. Besides their worldview, I learn the lie they believe about themselves, and that lie will color their motivation, and that motivation will drive their plotline. 

In my debut novel, Chapel Springs Revival, my secondary lead, Patsy, comes from a loving home. Her mother is a well-known artist and her father a country doctor. She grew up without them around a lot. One might think her lie is that she's unloved, but that wasn't it. Patsy believes she's helpless – powerless to fix things. In her own life, she falls victim to it by ignoring problems. If she doesn't acknowledge it, it doesn't exist. 

Your characters will either fall victim to their lie or they will try to prove it wrong. Remember, the key is: Lie drives motivation drives plotline.

Much of what I learn never makes it into the manuscript, but if makes the characters come alive. They're three-dimensional and when they are real to you, the author, they become real to the reader. 

One of my beta readers said after reading Chapel Springs Revival, "I love the people. I want to find out more about their lives."


And that's the goal for backstory. 

While a large, floppy straw hat is her favorite, Ane has worn many different ones: hairdresser, legislative affairs director (that's a fancy name for a lobbyist), drama director, multi-published playwright, humor columnist, and novelist. Her lifetime experience provides a plethora of fodder for her Southern-fried fiction (try saying that three times fast). She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. President of the award-winning literary site, Novel Rocket, Ane resides in Suwanee, GA, with her artist husband, her chef son, and two very large dogs. Her debut book, Chapel Springs Revival released Sept 8th.


Sunday, September 14, 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: 

Patricia T (
patucker54 at aol dot com)  - Crooked Lines by Holly Michael.
 
Congratulations! Thank you all so much for stopping by The Borrowed Book.
(This post first appeared February 10, 2013.)

And let us not grow weary ...

But Lord, I am weary. I am so stinking tired.

... while doing good ...

Or, as the King James says, in well-doing. Which, as I recall from a Beth Moore study, I know is from a Greek term which carries the connotation of “being excellent.” Which translates to, don’t get tired of pursuing excellence. But just how long do I have to keep trying to be better, Lord? When am I “good enough”?

... for in due season ...

Yeah, yeah, when the season is right ... here we go with seasons. This is familiar territory. I grew up watching the fields being planted in the spring with various crops, saw them grow until you couldn’t see the dirt between the rows, and finally—finally as the days stop being hot, and the evenings are crisp and cool, and when the plants are finally spent and dead—

Oh.

Fall comes, the plants die.

The plants have to die, and then the harvest is brought in.

But it isn’t that way with every crop—summer gardens, for instance, can go on and on, and some plants actually produce for weeks before the plants are finally spent.

Still, there is plucking, and tearing, and in some cases, uprooting of the whole plant to get to that harvest.

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap ...


Is that it? Is there some part of me that must wither and die and be ready to fall away before You can bring the harvest, Lord?

... we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

And I wonder, how can I not lose heart when the wait is so long, when spring turns to summer, and summer turns to fall, and the green in my leaf is drying and the stalk is withery and dry?

But then—the wind of your Spirit blows over me, and I hear Your voice whisper, I have not forgotten you. You shall reap.

It seems a Catch-22: I will reap, but only if I do not lose heart—but I find the strength to not lose heart because I believe His promises are true, and therefore, I will reap. One of the weird and wonderful paradoxes of His word.

There is the heart of the matter—can we trust His word? He calls Himself Faithful and True—do we believe He keeps his promises? And when I’m at a point where I cannot hold myself to faith, does He hold me there?

Can we dare to believe the mystery that strength is to be found in the waiting itself?

From Isaiah 40 (NKJV):

27 Why do you say, O Jacob,
And speak, O Israel:
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
And my just claim is passed over by my God”?
28 Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
31 But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.


(Galatians 6:9 also from the NKJV)

Friday, September 12, 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 and...you 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 Holly Michael and her newest release, Crooked Lines.

Click to Mix and Solve

Thursday, September 11, 2014

 I think I always wanted to be a writer, but officially declared it at the age of six, after listing rhyming words on paper, then stringing them together with a few other pretty words. Thus began my early career writing poems to my parents and later, letters of love my mom called “testimonies” and kept in her dresser drawer.

I’ve been at it since. But as life has its ups and downs and crooked lines, there were seasons for writing and a long road between that first poem and getting published. My early work appeared in parenting magazines, Guideposts for Teens magazine, and other magazines. God led me in so many different directions with writing and I’m very grateful for the opportunities.

When my kids were little, I freelanced more for newspapers and magazines, and did ghostwriting, then later went to work full-time as a features writer for a Northwest Arkansas newspaper.  After a move and setting writing aside for a couple of years, a client for whom I’d done editing and script writing asked me if I’d write a novel for him. He later changed his mind on the project, but I was hooked and began a novel of my own: Crooked Lines.

Crooked Lines, my debut novel (released in July) threads the lives of two determined souls from different continents and cultures. The novel got its beginnings after listening to my husband and his clergy friends tell incredible stories about their lives in India as young seminarians—working in the slums, ministering to the untouchables in India’s caste system, serving lepers, meeting Mother Teresa. Amazing stories. Growing up in the America in the 1970-80s, I experienced a completely different world. And yet, we are all people created in God’s image who share similar hearts and emotions. In Crooked Lines, (fiction) Rebecca and Sagai seek peace and truth while struggling through life along parallel paths.

What’s Next:
I planned to release my novel, I’ll Be Seeing You, in November, (a contemporary Christian family drama about end of life decisions.) but I’m getting so many requests for a sequel to Crooked Lines, so I’m working on that now. I’ll Be Seeing You will follow the sequel, maybe in January.

Also, a fun story about another upcoming release:  A few weeks ago, my husband and I realized this December is the ten year anniversary of the tsunami that hit south India in 2004. We were there, 10 days after that catastrophe. We did a fast fund-raising event and had raised a good amount of money to donate to the victims, especially the orphans. My husband had lived and worked in the region of South India that was devastated, teaching in orphanages, for many years. So, discussing the anniversary of the tsunami, he suggested we write a “then” and “now” book chronicling the lives of the orphan children we helped during that time. That sounded like a fun project, but only one catch. I reminded him that we’d actually have to go to India, seek out all of the orphans, and write the book rather quickly to get it published by the ten-year anniversary. A few hours later, he’d booked tickets. I love that he’s so proactive and willing to travel and work with me on project. I love to travel, too and am always up for an adventure. So, we’ll be heading to India and working on that project in the upcoming months.

Another project: My son (Jake) and I have written a devotional contracted with Harvest House: First and Goal to Go: What Football Taught Me about Never Giving Up. Jake is an NFL player and type one diabetic. Release date will be the fall of 2015.

So, looks like a very busy fall and winter!


About Holly Michael: I’m a kaleidoscope, twisted and turned by the hand of God through a beautiful life of writing, traveling, and other incredible opportunities. Was a regular freelance ghostwriter and online editor for Guideposts for Teens/Sweet 16 Magazine, creator/editor of a magazine for Wal-Mart Corp., journalist, newspaper features writer, published in a variety of national magazines and local newspapers, script writing/editing for a financial corporation, book reviewer, and now writing 


fiction, blogging, and editor of Koinonia Magazine. I’m the wife of Rt. Rev. Leo Michael, an Anglican Bishop in the Holy Catholic Church-Anglican Rite. Mom to three great kids: Sweet Betsy and my two #81’s: Jake Byrne (San Diego Chargers) and Nick Byrne (Ragin Cajuns). I’ve been blessed to be able to travel extensively across the United States and internationally to India, England, Scotland, and Canada.


Make sure to stop by tomorrow, when you can win a free copy of Holly's novel Crooked Lines!



Tuesday, September 9, 2014

After years of working in diverse areas as a nonfiction writer—journalist, ghostwriter, newspaper features writer, editor—I dove into fiction writing without a platform. Gasp! Without a platform! 
I just thought I could write a book. Wrong! The books on how to write books spoke of platforms, niches, genres. 
As a hybrid—Fiction and Nonfiction—author, I didn’t have a niche. And worse, Crooked Lines didn’t fit into any genre. I had the general market in mind, but after publishing Crooked Lines, I’ve had reviewers on Amazon call it: Literary Fiction, Christian Fiction, Romance, and even “a book that can’t be assigned to any genre.” 
So….was I doomed? 
Hope not! 
Backing up….While writing Crooked Lines, I decided to at least try to get a platform going by starting a blog. But what kind of a blog? Everyone was doing writing blogs. Without a defined genre, I wasn’t sure what to do.  
I ended up naming my blog Holly Michael’s Writing Straight @ www.writingstraight.com Writing Straight is from the maxim: God Writes Straight with Crooked lines. Crooked Lines, of course, being the title of my first novel. Through life’s crooked lines and learning curves, people are the dots that connect. I wanted to create a website to connect people and to inspire and share about life and writing. 
Sometimes I blog about family, sometimes faith, sometimes my books, sometimes travel, and sometimes football. Yes, football. So, I have a blog, but it’s not really a platform. BUT…..maybe it is. See, here’s how I tied it all together (at least in my mind)… 
Faith, Family, Travel, Football: I have a traditionally published devotional coming out in 2015 co-authored with my son, an NFL player who is also a type 1 diabetic. My fiction is spiritually themed. My husband is an Anglican Bishop. We travel a lot and the locations we travel to become settings in my books. 

So, my point in this article is that you just need to write what you want. I understand the plusses of having a platform, niche, and genre, but if you don’t, it’s okay. The writing police won’t arrest you. First, write what you love and write it well. If you find you can write to a niche and genre, all the better. Your platform is ready made. Get your blog going, and blog away. But if you’re like me, an ADD hybrid author who’s all over the place, it’ll all work out fine. So far, it’s working for me.

I’m a kaleidoscope, twisted and turned by the hand of God through a beautiful life of writing, traveling, and other incredible opportunities. I’m the wife of Rt. Rev. Leo Michael, an Anglican Bishop in the Holy Catholic Church-Anglican Rite. Mom to three great kids: Sweet Betsy and my two #81’s: Jake Byrne (San Diego Chargers) and Nick Byrne (Ragin Cajuns). I’ve been blessed to be able to travel extensively across the United States and internationally to India, England, Scotland, and Canada.


Make sure to stop by Friday for a chance to win a free copy of Holly's novel Crooked Lines!

Newsletter Subscribe

Followers

Categories

Blog Archive

Powered by Blogger.

Historical Romantic Suspense

Historical Romance

Comments

Comments

Popular Posts

Guest Registry