Welcome to the blog of author Marlo Schalesky!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Crayons & Grace

Hi Friends,

My oldest, Bethany, was asking me about my friends when I was kid, and I was remembering how fickle little girls can be in their friendships. And I was reminded of the difference between God's friendship and that of little girls, a lesson that hit home with me a few years ago while we were moving into our new house. It happened like this:

“Look, Mom, crayons!”

I lifted my head out of bag of toys that I was unpacking to see my daughter clutching a narrow yellow and green box in her hand.

Bethany opened the lid. “Ew, but they’re so old. Yuck.”

I laughed and tossed a doll back into the bag. “Bring those here.”

She sidestepped around a bag of stuffed animals and hopped over a box of craft supplies. “Here.” She handed me the old, dilapidated box. “I don’t want them.”

I grinned. “That’s okay, because they’re not yours.”

She frowned. “Then whose are they?”

I ran my finger over the top of the box and paused over a name written in brown ink. “They’re mine.” And they had been, for a long time. A box of 64 crayons, their ends dulled with use, the paper torn, but all still intact.

Bethany looked at the box and pointed to the name. “But your name’s not Lynette.”

“Nope, but they’re my crayons all the same. I got them when I was in the fourth grade.”

Bethany tapped her finger on the box top. “But that’s still not your name.”

“Well, let me tell you . . .”

She sat down and crossed her legs. Probably because she knew a story was coming. She was right.

I sat down too, and placed the crayons on my lap. “See, here’s my name.” I pointed to the

“Marlo” printed in dark purple along the edge. “My friend Lisa gave me these crayons as a gift.”

“But your name’s crossed out.”

“I know. About a week after she gave them to me, she got mad at me and gave them to Lynette instead. See, here’s Lynette’s name right after mine.”

“It’s crossed out there too.”

“I know.”

“Then your name’s crossed out again.”


“That’s weird.” Bethany shook her head. “So why was your friend mad at you?”

“I don’t know. I didn’t know then either, but Lisa was that way. When she got mad at me, she’d give the crayons to Lynette and cross out my name. I’d come in from recess and the crayons would be gone, right out of my desk. Then a few days later, they’d be back again, with Lynette’s name crossed out and mine written again.”

Bethany giggled. “How many time did it happen?”

“Well, let’s see.” I counted the crossed out names. “Six times. She forgot to write my name the last time.”

Bethany crossed her arms. “She wasn’t a very good friend.”

I smiled. "Sometimes little girls are like that."

Bethany shrugged. “Jesus is my friend. We learned that last week at Sunday School.” She turned around and returned to her box across the room.

I grinned as I watched her go back to her unpacking. She had stated it so simply. Jesus was her friend. And he was mine too. I opened the crayon box and looked down at the dilapidated crayons. Today, they made for a funny story, but back then, it had hurt to have a fickle friend.

Jesus wasn’t like that. And yet, sometimes, even now as an adult, I acted as if he were. Secretly, I wondered if I didn’t do everything just right, would he reject me? If I failed, would he take away his grace? If I messed up, would he still love me all the same? In the face of loss and grief, I asked, “What have I done wrong to deserve this?” It was as if Jesus was like the little girl Lisa.

But God doesn’t get mad at me and take away his grace. He doesn’t sneak in and steal away his gifts on a whim. Even when I deserve it.

In 2 Timothy 2:13, Paul says, “if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” (NIV)

God has given me his grace, his love, his promise that nothing shall separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:39).

God loves me. He won’t cross my name off the box. And he won’t take my crayons away.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Desires of Her Heart by Lyn Cote

Hi Friends,

The novel I'd like to share with you this week is The Desires of Her Heart by my friend, Lyn Cote. Here's a bit about it:

THE DESIRES OF HER HEART (Avon Inspire, on-sale: Feb 10, 2009, ISBN: 9780061373411, price: $12.99) is a beautiful historical romance between a woman forced to make a new life on the Texas frontier and the scout who leads their wagon train through the uncharted territory. Set in 1821, Dorritt Mott who is against slavery is a woman ahead of her time. When events make it impossible for her family, including an overbearing stepfather and a spoiled half-sister, to remain in New Orleans, they head to Texas to join Stephen Austin’s first angloamericano settlement and recoup their fortune in the Spanish colony of Texas.

Quinn, a social outcast as the half-breed son of a Cherokee mother and an American father, has made a name for himself as a scout and a man not to be taken lightly. When the New Orleans lady and the frontiersman meet, they become unlikely allies as they travel the wilds of Texas. But will their trek be in vain? Mexico has broken with the Spanish Crown that had granted Austin land. And both armies plus marauding Comanche roam the pine forest and prairie of Texas. And though they are unaware of it, there is a closer danger, a man who is plotting destruction and who will try to make Dorritt and Quinn pawns in his scheme. As their romance blossoms, can Dorritt help Quinn put his trust in the God? The Creator who has promised that those that delight in Him shall be given the desires of their hearts? What will it take for Quinn to believe that promise?

In the vein of the great sweeping historical sagas of Tracie Peterson, Lyn Cote’s Texas: Star of Destiny series will grab readers from the very first page.

LYN COTE is an award-winning author of both contemporary and historical inspirational romance. She speaks at state, regional and national writer’s conferences and is an active member of RWA and the American Christian Fiction Writers. Most recently, Chloe, the first novel in Lyn’s “Women of Ivy Manor” series published by FaithWords was a 2006 Rita Award finalist for Best Inspirational as well as a finalist for the Holt Medallion and the National Readers Choice Contest. She is also one the top-selling authors in Harlequin’s Love Inspired category line. Born in El Paso, Texas, Lyn and her husband now live in Wisconsin.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Baby Picture, News, & Notes on Greek

Hi Friends!

Well, baby's 2 1/2 months old today, so I thought it would be a good time to post a current picture of him. So, here he is! He's doing great and is very tolerant of his over-loving sisters. He's a real joy to our family!

In other news, I'm finally back to working on my next novel, Shades of Morning, and gearing up for promotion on If Tomorrow Never Comes, which releases on March 17. Today the bookmarks and postcards arrived for that book, so that was fun! Which reminds me, if you'd like to hand out bookmarks or postcards to your friends, family, the folks you meet on the streets ;-), just send me a note with your address, what you'd like to giveaway, and how many you want me to send to you. I really appreciate it when y'all help get the word out on my books! :-)

And lastly, I finished an interview today and one of the questions was about how reading the New Testament in the Greek differs from reading in English. I thought it would be fun to share my answer to that, so here it is:

Reading in the Greek is a lot richer and more nuanced. I absolutely love finding some little thing in the Greek that you can’t see in the English. For example, reading in the Greek has deepened the meaning of so many familiar passages for me. Two of my favorites are 1 Peter 5:7 and Philippians 4:13. 1 Peter 5:7 usually reads, “Cast all your cares upon him for he cares for you.” But in the Greek the meaning is more along the lines of “because it matters to him concerning you.” When I was struggling with whether my pain, my hurt, my sorrow, my disappointments mattered to God, if I truly mattered to him, it was the Greek that spoke so deeply to me to confirm God’s love. I had read the passage a hundred times in English, but when I saw it in the Greek, God used it to heal my heart.

Similarly, Philippians 4:13 is the familiar passage which usually reads, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” But in the Greek, the word for “strengthen” is actually “in-power.” And that has been so encouraging for me. God doesn’t just take what I already have and give it a boost (which is how I’d been reading “strengthen”), but he puts his own power in me (like it says in the Greek). And that’s why I can do all things – because I am in-powered, not just strengthened.

And one more before I move on (I could go on about the Greek for pages and pages, but I’ll spare you!) The name of my “mystery character” in If Tomorrow Never Comes is Aletheia. That’s the Greek word for Truth. It also shares the same root as the word for “unhidden.” So, I’ll let readers figure out how truth and unhiddenness are key to understanding the book’s final twist. Happy reading!!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Double Minds by Terri Blackstock

Hi Friends!

This week's novel to tell you about is DOUBLE MINDS,
a stand-alone novel by Terri Blackstock. Here's a bit about it:

Were the bullets intended for her?
As talented singer/songwriter Parker James struggles to make her mark on the Nashville music scene, she finds the competition can be fierce – even deadly. When a young woman is murdered at the recording studio where Parker works, Parker is drawn into a mystery where nothing is as it seems. Unraveling the truth puts her own life at risk when she uncovers high-level industry corruption and is terrorized by a menacing stalker. As the danger escalates, Parker begins to question her dreams, her future, and even her faith. Does stardom even matter anymore?

“Blackstock’s superior writing will keep readers turning pages late into the night to discover the identity of the culprit in this amazing mystery. The unique setting and peek into the Nashville music scene are fascinating. Suspense lovers are in for a delightful treat.” Romantic Times, February 2009.

Terri Blackstock’s books have sold six million copies worldwide. Known for her “Up All Night Fiction,” Terri has had over twenty-five years of success as a novelist. Terri makes her home in Mississippi, where she and her husband Ken are enjoying their empty nest after raising three children.

See the Video Trailer for Double Minds at www.terriblackstock.com

Available now at http://www.amazon.com/Double-Minds-Novel-Terri-Blackstock/dp/0310250633/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1234798664&sr=1-1, or
www.christianbook.com, www.bn.com, and your favorite bookstores everywhere.

Double Minds
ISBN #978-0-310-31842-2

Terri Blackstock, www.terriblackstock.com
Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=655045822&ref=profile

Friday, February 13, 2009


Hi Friends,

Well, I finally took the plunge and got on Facebook. So, if you're on Facebook too, I'd love it if you would add me as a friend! I'm just finding my way around over there and looking for friends.

:-) Marlo

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

News & The Death of Ambition

Hi Friends,

First, the news: My author copies of If Tomorrow Never Comes arrived via UPS last night! The book doesn't hit store shelves for another month (March 17 is the official release date), but my copies are here. They look great! So fun.

Next in news, the twins are down with the flu. B came down with it over the weekend, and is feeling better by now (just more tired), J got it yesterday and has been down and out since. Please pray for us - that none of the rest of us get hit, especially new baby!

And now, I wanted to share with you a short essay on ambition that was written by someone else. I found it very insightful and thought you would too. If you want to read more by Francis Frangipane, I've included a website link at the end of the piece.

So, here it is:

Part One: The Death of Ambition
by Francis Frangipane

When I first came to Christ, the Lord gave me a dream about my future. I thought that everything the Lord said was supposed to occur immediately; I didn't know of the work of preparation and dying to self, of learning patience and maintaining vision through testing, that would occur before God's promise would find fulfillment. Consequently, I was filled with ambition. Ambition is the first motive that arises in the spiritually immature. I was like the disciples who, a few days after Jesus' resurrection, were already asking, "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom?" (Acts 1:6).

Ambition is very deceptive. It can seem just like obedience, yet because we don't truly know the Lord, the voice we find ourselves obeying is not God's, but our own. Our vision can actually be from God, but our motive be self. Consequently, where there is ambition, James tells us there will soon emerge "disorder and every evil thing" (James 3:16). Why? Because we begin thinking we can accomplish the will of God through the strength of man. We are seeking a breakthrough; God wants to give us brokenness.

The spiritually immature do not recognize their immaturity because they are immature. Thus, they become impatient, fearful and demanding. Because pride blinds the ambitious, we presume we are ready for greater assignments in God. In fact, we become a harder assignment for those who work with us, for our actions continually generate strife.

Ambition seeks to put to death what stands between it and spiritual fulfillment. Yet, it is ambition itself that must die to reach fulfillment. Webster's tells us that ambition is "an earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction, as wealth or fame, and the willingness to strive for it." The word translated "ambition" in the NAS is rendered "strife" in the King James. Truly, ambition is a major cause for strife, church splits and conflicts within the church.

I thought having a promise from God was the same thing as receiving a commandment from God. I did not understand what I personally lacked in character or what I needed to attain concerning faithfulness, becoming a bond-servant, and possessing a grateful heart. These things needed to be worked in me before God would truly begin to fulfill His larger promises and opportunities. What I became for God was more important than what I did for Him.

Today, I am living in the spiritual substance of what was just a dream thirty-eight years ago. My ambitions have suffered greatly, yet my dreams are being fulfilled. While I have not yet arrived at the greatest aspects of my calling, I understand the difference between ambition and true leadership and it is this: Ministry is not a call to lead, but to die.

Every advance that I have made spiritually was preceded by an opportunity to die to self. The power in my life comes from where I have died to self and now live unto Christ.

Do you want to advance spiritually? The gateway to resurrection power is crucifixion. God will arrange opportunities for you to die to self. You must discern them. Dying to self and its ambition is the means of reaching true spiritual fulfillment. If you react to the opportunity to die with fleshly anger or resentment, you will fail to reach fulfillment. However, if you can maintain your vision even while your ambition dies, you will succeed.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Evidence of Murder by Jill Elizabeth Nelson

Hi friends,

Here's a new novel I want to tell you about this week:

Evidence of Murder
By Jill Elizabeth Nelson

Publisher: Steeple Hill
Release Date: February 2009
ISBN: 0373443277

Copyright © 2009 by Jill Elizabeth Nelson

The photographs Samantha Reid uncovers in her new store are shocking. Horrifying. And dangerous. This new evidence could reopen a decade-old multiple homicide case that someone wants desperately to keep closed. And when the evidence comes out, a reluctant Samantha is drawn straight into the spotlight. Then she meets Ryan Davidson, the last surviving member of the murdered family. In spite of herself, she’s drawn in by his need to find the truth. Together, they work to unravel the mystery, while the killer works to keep the secrets buried—forever.


By day, I'm a manager at my local health care complex. By night, I morph into a wild and crazy writer, itching to share with my readers stories full of adventure seasoned with humor, romance, and faith. My husband and I have been married for over 27 years now, and we enjoy life in rural Minnesota, where we raised four children and now have a grandbaby due any day.
Visit Jill’s website at http://www.jillelizabethnelson.com/
You can get this book directly from your local bookstore, or online here: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0373443277/jillelizabeth-20

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Book News & Thoughts on Waiting

Hi Friends,

A couple things today. First, we're gearing up for the release of IF TOMORROW NEVER COMES. Check out the new stuff on my website, including a new page of infertility resources (great resource if you come across anyone struggling with this issue), and I've also added an audio interview about the new book and some of the deeper issues I was wanting to address in the book. Check that out by clicking on the audio-video player on my website -- front page, bottom right hand column. Good stuff! (Note: There are links above to my website.)

Second, if you have an active blog and would like to put up a review, or info about If Tomorrow Never Comes, email my PR person, Kelly Blewett, at kellyblewett @ hotmail . com (take out the spaces) with a link to your blog and tell her so. The top blogs will be invited to participate in a blog campaign the week after the book's release on March 17. I'd love it if some of you participated - that'd be great!

Third, a friend sent this great poem this week that really captures much of how God interacts with me in my life. So, I thought I'd share it here. As far as I know, the author is unknown. See if it speaks to you like it spoke to me:


Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried.
Quietly, patiently, lovingly God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate,
and the Master so gently said, “Child, you must wait.”

“Wait? You say, wait!” my indignant reply.
“Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith, I have asked, and am claiming your Word.

My future and all to which I can relate
Hangs in the balance, and YOU tell me to WAIT?
I’m needing a ‘yes,’ a go-ahead sign,
Or even a ‘no’ to which I can resign.

And Lord, you promised that if we believe
we need but to ask, and we shall receive,
and Lord, I’ve been asking, and this is my cry:
I’m weary of asking! I need a reply!”

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
as my Master replied once again, “You must wait.”
So, I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut,
and grumbled to God, “So, I’m waiting – for what?”

He seemed, then, to kneel, and his eyes wept with mine.
And he tenderly said, “I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens, and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead, and cause mountains to run.
All you seek, I could give, and pleased you would be.
You would have what you want – but you wouldn’t know me.

You’d not know the depth of my love for each saint.
You’d not know the power that I give to the faint.
You’d not learn to see through the clouds of despair.
You’d not learn to trust just by knowing I’m there.
You’d not know the joy of resting in me
when darkness and silence were all you could see.

You’d never experience that fullness of love
as the peace of my Spirit descends like a dove.
You’d know that I give and I save (for a start),
but you’d not know the depth of the beat of my heart.
the glory of my comfort late into the night,
the faith that I give when you walk without sight,
the depth that’s beyond getting just what you asked
of an infinite God, who makes what you have LAST.

You’d never know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that “My grace is sufficient for Thee.”
Yes, your dreams for your loved one overnight would come true.
But, oh, the loss! If I lost what I’m doing in you!

So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see
that the greatest of gifts is to get to know me.
And though oft’ may my answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still, “WAIT.”

Author Unknown