Bookish Blog Format

Once a week (at least) I share snippets from my novel in progress, and passages highlighted from the books I’m reading. Enjoy the (non-spoilery) sneak peeks from my as yet Untitled 9th Historical Novel set in Scotland and Colonial Virginia, 1730s. And do check out the books I’m quoting. I highly recommend them!

From My Reading

New Morning Mercies, Paul Tripp, Jan 8: Next time you face the unexpected, a moment of difficulty you really don’t want to go through, remember that such a moment doesn’t picture a God who has forgotten you, but one who is near to you and doing in you a very good thing. He is rescuing you from thinking that you can live the life you were meant to live while relying on the inadequate resources of your wisdom, experience, righteousness, and strength; and he is transforming you into a person who lives a life shaped by radical God-centered faith.

Heaven, Randy Alcorn, p428: The Master Designer goes into great detail in his instructions for building the Tabernacle: the veil and curtain, the Ark of the Covenant, the table, the lampstand, the alter of burnt offerings, the courtyard, the incense altar, the washbasin, the priests’ clothing. The design, precision, and beauty of these things tell us about God, ourselves, and the culture of the New Earth. Those who imagine that spirituality is something ethereal and invisible–unrelated to our physical skills, creativity, and cultural development–fail to understand Scripture. God’s instructions and his delight in the gifts he imparts to people to accomplish these tasks make clear what we should expect in Heaven: greater works of craftsmanship and construction, unhindered by sin and death… When we die, we won’t leave behind our creativity, but only what hinders our ability to honor God through what we create.

Bullet Proof, Chuck Holton, p125: In combat, comfortable will get you killed. A tight-knit unit fosters an environment where soldiers aren’t afraid to remind each other to remain vigilant. Soldiers who really care for each other don’t shrug their shoulders and walk away from a situation that needs attention. As a result, you end up with an accountability structure that simply can’t be beat.

From My Writing

Excerpt from: Untitled 9th Historical Novel, Copyright 2024 Lori Benton (all rights reserved; do not copy without my permission). Note: To avoid spoilers, sometimes I’ll replace character names with X, Y, or Z but I’ll keep them consistent. X is always a particular character, as is Y, and Z.

X crossed paths with Z again during the last stag hunt Grandfather served as head stalker for Sir Alexander. Among the gentleman gathered to their chief for the sport were Angus Òg and Hamish MacDonald, though the latter hadn’t much stomach for the hunt. As lads, Hamish had rarely joined X and Rob when they’d taken their bows to the hills after moor-game—mostly ptarmigan and geese, though on occasion they’d got close enough to a deer for a killing shot. No easy feat with the bow X preferred, half the size of an English longbow. But who could creep through tangled heather stalking canny deer with a bow longer than he was tall?


More than a match for a longbow’s height now, X was too accustomed to the smaller weapon to trade it for another. Keen eyes and knowledge of the deer were the skills he’d need today, yet he’d strapped the bow with its quiver to his back, encased in oiled sealskin. Just to be sure. He’d once seen a wounded deer turn on a hunter, to be dispatched by Grandfather’s well-placed arrow seconds before it gored the man. On X’s belt hung his dirk and the knives for the gralloch, the eviscerating of any deer Sir Alexander’s exalted guests might bring down today.


Grandfather had informed him in the dark and damp of their rising, camped on the eastern flank of Sgùrr Mòr, that X would be saying the prayer to consecrate the hunt. He’d heard Grandfather say it a hundred times, had recited it himself with Rob, but this would be his first speaking of it in the ears of their chieftain. With the sun not yet risen, he muttered snatches of the prayer before the stalkers set out ahead of the hunters.


“In the name of the Holy Three-fold as One, in word, in deed, and in thought…” He spotted the kilted figures of Grandfather and the third stalker together at the edge of camp, settling on their strategy for the morning’s scout. “I am bathing my hands in the light and in the elements of the sky…” The other stalker in a brown-green plaid slipped off through a dripping scatter of full-leafed trees, quickly swallowed by a blanketing fog X judged would lift, or leastwise thin, by mid-morn. They were headed down off Sgùrr Mòr into a place of stony spires and ridges folk called A’ Chuith-Raing. “Vowing that I shall never return in my life without fishing, without fowling either, without game, without venison down from—”


Behind X a throat cleared. Stalked himself like an unwary deer, he swiveled to see Hamish, sleepy-eyed in the morning gray. Beside him stood a dark-haired young man X knew instantly though he hadn’t set eyes upon him in a decade’s passing.


Z had grown tall as well, though his was a hungry, whip-slender frame. Quick assessment of his outfitting showed coat and plaid, belt and brogues, were of quality. Despite its uselessness on a hunt, a long sword hung at his belt. Upon its basket hilt a bony hand rested as he observed X with an equally measuring look slanted down a disdainful nose, narrow and bridged like a raven’s beak.


Fair hair tailed back from softer features, Hamish smiled thinly. “Look who’s joined the hunt, X. Z and his da. They rode in last night after ye and your grandda turned in.”

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