My Family Reunion

Many families organize and stage family reunions across the country, and I must say, I truly enjoyed mine yesterday. Although I missed seeing my two aunts (who are un-well and in nursing homes) I loved seeing my cousins and their children and grandchildren. Reunions are a great way to catch up on family news without the expense of a wedding or the sorrow of someone passing away. (the two most commons reasons for extended families to get together…)

We had ours in a communtiy park shelter house. There were ball fields and places to swim for those so inclined (mainly the kids), but mostly folks wandered around talking and eating, and then talking and eating some more. No, not everyone in the family was able to come–life sometimes gets in the way, doesn’t it? And we can’t be in two or three places at the same time. But I look forward to seeing them at Christmas or at the next reunion. Life is short. If your family doesn’t hold reunions, why not start one?  Have everyone bring food and beverages so no one has any great expense. And enjoy a summer afternoon with those God chose to be in your “family”, one way or another. Blessings on your upcoming week. Here’s a photo taken at the reunion.

And before I forget…I’m still waiting for Debbie Foster to contact me. You’re the winner of Laura Hilton’s book from last week’s blog. Everyone stay safe this week. My heart and prayers go out to everyone impacted by this past weekend’s hurricane. We haven’t been able to look away from the Weather Channel for 4 days. Too much rain in the East…not enough in the Southwest…things aren’t good anywhere!  blessings.







And we have a winner, folks!

Thanks to everyone who posted to my blog during the past week and left a comment for Laura Hilton. In a random drawing I have selected a winner. drum roll please….Debbie Foster, please come on down! You’re the lucky winner of A Harvest of Hearts. On second thought, since you probably don’t live close to me, please email me at to provide Laura and I with a mailing address. Thanks again to everyone who posted a comment.

Stay tuned…very soon I will be posting photos of my recent research trip to Maine to learn about the Amish who live in that lovely state. And I’m counting the days….A Marriage for Meghan releases in one more month. Check out the great trailer my publisher, Harvest House, did for that book. I absolutely love it.

Have a great week! Get out and do something fun. Summer is wanning, and I for one will miss it when it’s gone. Blessings.

My review of Harvest of Hearts by Laura Hilton

It’s truly my pleasure to feature another Amish author on my blog. I just finished Harvest of Hearts by Laura V. Hilton and found it to be a fast-paced follow-up to her debut, Patchwork Dreams. In this delightful second of the series, kindhearted Matthew Yoder participates in a swap of Amish men. He leaves the farmland of Lancaster County behind for new opportunites awaiting him in Missouri. But meeting Shanna, a nursing student home on summer vacation, offers more complications than he bargained for. Shanna left her Old Order Amish community during rumschpringe, vowing never to return. Still strong-minded and independent, Shanna plans only to save money and return to college in the fall. But her love of family and faith in God inexorably draws her back into the fold. Laura Hilton has created characters that leap off the page. Her scenes offer vivid imagry, allowing us to escape into the wholesome world of the Amish. I thoroughly enjoyed Harvest of Hearts, which will be released next month, and look forward to book three in Hilton’s Amish of Seymour series.

Here’s something about the 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. Her publishing credits include Hot Chocolate and Shadows of the Past from Treble Heart Books; a devotional in a compilation from Zondervan; and the first book “Patchwork Dreams” in her Amish of Seymour series from Whitaker House released in April 2011, the second book, “A Harvest of Hearts” in September 2011, and Promised to Another in April 2012. Laura has her business degree from Ozarka and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Laura is a professional book reviewer for the Christian market, with over a thousand book reviews published at various online review sites.

Please leave a comment for Laura, for a chance to win a free copy of Harvest of Hearts. Many blessings and have a great week!

Interview with Eddie Snipes, President of Christian Author’s Guild

Hello folks, today I am honored to host on my blog, Eddie Snipes, President of Christian Author’s Guild. His July release, I Called Him Dancer, has been receiving plenty of great reviews among book reviewers and readers alike. And for those of you on a budget, (which is all of us!) it’s available on eBook for only .99 cents.

Here’s what the story is about: For a moment, Michael danced on top of the world, but one bad choice turned his life upside down. The once promising Broadway star now washes windshields for tips and lives among the homeless. When his former dance partner recognizes him behind the fray of whiskers, shame drives him away from her.  Angry at God and the world, the Dancer refuses to allow anyone into his life. When everything is stripped away, three things remain: faith, hope, and love. The greatest of these is love. I Called Him Dancer is a story about how one woman’s enduring faith and unconditional love drives her to reach out to a homeless man who has given up on life.

Here’s a little bit about my guest: Eddie Snipes has been taking writing seriously for the last 15 years. His writing journey began when doing prison ministry and prisoners began asking for study material. He decided to write out each message and give it out at the end of service. When he began taking writing seriously, Eddie felt the need to connect with like-minded writers. Over the next few years, he joined the Christian Authors Guild, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Atlanta Writers Club. In 2011 he began serving as President of the Christian Authors Guild in Woodstock, GA. Over the last decade, Eddie has written thirty-thousand pages of Bible studies, three full length manuscripts, and won five writing contests. In 2011 he published his first book.

How has your life changed since publishing your first book? Other than the hordes of autograph seekers, my life hasn’t changed much. The biggest change has been my focus on marketing. I watch many books drift away into the graveyard of forgotten books, and I’m determined not to be one of them. I’m also determined not to be someone who bombards contacts with self-promotion. I’ve integrated marketing into my lifestyle by getting more involved in the writing community. I’ve put a lot of emphasis on blogging with articles that are helpful so that I’m giving to others. In return, I’ve had a constant stream of readers buying my book. It doesn’t make me rich, but it does keep my book in front of the reading world.

Is there anything you would have done differently? There isn’t a whole lot I would change about my writing and publishing experience. There are many things I will do differently on my next book, but many of the mistakes I made were unavoidable. It isn’t
until you begin to venture out that you discover where you need to focus. I wasted money on things that didn’t work, but there’s no way of knowing what works and what doesn’t until they are tried. Each author is different and each genre is different. What some authors said would work, didn’t. Some things that was supposed to be a waste of time, worked. One thing I could have done better was to build a solid readership on my blog before launching. Readers who like my blog also tend to like my voice in books.

How has your story impacted your life? I hit on this a little bit earlier. I’ve put marketing in the mix of my life and habits. I try to find ways to let people know about my book without hard selling. I’ve found that setting time aside to blog has
helped me grow as a person, and it has helped me connect with others – including readers. I learned that if I’m going to blog, it has to be done well. When I posted inconsistently, I peaked out at 30 monthly visitors. Since April when I focused on producing quality articles, it has steadily grown to over 2000 monthly readers. Writing is a lifestyle and integrating my writing life into lives of readers is both rewarding and challenging.

What are your writing plans for the future? I want to see if I can write a book without verbs. I have two other manuscripts written. One fiction, and one non-fiction. The non-fiction book is called Simple Faith, and is focused on discipleship and
growing in faith clear to the common layman. The fiction book is in rough draft stage and has been sitting for well over a year. I’m letting it ferment and hopefully it will edit itself.

Do you have any advice for writers trying to find a publisher or agent? Have a thick skin, and be persistent. A young
adult writer in the Christian Authors Guild, where I serve, queried 140 agencies before getting an acceptance. This is not unusual. Most successful authors have been rejected dozens of times before finding success. Independent publishing is an option – but it has to be for the right reasons. No author should self-publish because they gave up. If you have the vision for your book that you
are pursuing and believe in independent publishing, by all means do it. If you have a dream of becoming an agented author, don’t give up and take the easy way out. Reevaluate your work, query letters, and keep pressing. It only takes one door to open, but sometimes you have to knock on a lot of doors. And you have to have a professional sounding query.

How can readers find you on the internet?

My blog / website is I post weekly articles, author interviews, book reviews, and a little humor.

Facebook username: eddiesnipes

Twitter: @eddiesnipes

I’m also on Google+
Author of I Called Him Dancer  – On sale for .99 cent on eBook.

New book trailer for A Marriage for Meghan

Hello folks. I’m so excited. I just saw the book trailer for my late September release, A Marriage for Meghan, and it’s a beauty. Harvest House Publishers does a beautiful job with these. (I wish I could take credit, but I can’t…) click on the link to view the trailer, and please drop me a line and tell me what you think. I’m happy as a clam in hotter-than-blazes Ohio! If I sound like I’m complaining, I am not. I am the one whining all winter long. Give me hot over cold weather any day.

here’s the link: