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Archive for September, 2012

Today I’m pleased to welcome fellow Harvest House author, Vannetta Chapman, to Home Thoughts. Vannetta has published more than 100 articles in Christian family magazines. She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather’s birthplace in Albion, PA. She is an award-winning member of Romance Writers’ of America, has taught school for fifteen years, and lives with her family in Texas’ hill country.

Here’s the back cover blurb to whet your appetite: A Promise for Miriam, the first book in a brand-new romantic series from popular author Vannetta Chapman, introduces the Amish community of Pebble Creek and some of the kind, caring people there. As they face challenges to their community from the English world, they come together to reach out to their non-Amish neighbors while still preserving their cherished Plain ways. Amish schoolteacher Miriam King loves her students. At 26, most women her age are married with children of their own, but she hasn’t yet met anyone who can convince her to give up the Plain school that sits along the banks of Pebble Creek. Then newcomer Gabriel Miller steps into her life, bringing his daughter, an air of mystery, and challenges Miriam has never faced before. Will Gabe be able to let go of the past that haunts him? He thinks he just wants to be left alone, but the loving and warm community he and his daughter have moved to has other plans for him. After a near tragedy is averted, he hesitantly returns offers of help and friendship, and he discovers he can make a difference to the people of Pebble Creek—and maybe find love again.

I thoroughly enjoyed Vannetta’s look at the Amish of southwestern Wisconsin. Her heroine, Miriam, rings with authenticity. In A Promise for Miriam, the characters have realistic imperfections and encounter plenty of challenges to keep readers turning the pages. Their faith and strong sense of Christian community help them through life’s difficult challenges. Vannetta’s hero, Gabriel, is multi-dimensional and well-crafted. It was a joy to witness his change of heart. I eagerly look forward to the next installment of the delightful Pebble Creek Amish series.

Please leave a comment to this post to win a copy of A Promise for Miriam. Answer the question: What do you like best about Amish fiction?  Have a great weekend, readers!  Mary

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Please vote for Living in Harmony

Good morning, readers,

I just discoved that Living in Harmony is one of 5 Inspiration releases up for the December book pick at Clash of the Titles. If my book is selected, I will be the December contemporary romance book selection. If you’ve got a minute, please drop by the Clash of the Titles website and vote for Living in Harmony. Scroll down, it’s on the home page, I believe the 3rd or 4th book. I’m up against some great books. This is a wonderful website designed for readers of inspiration fiction.

here’s the link: http://www.clashofthetitles.com/

thanks and have a great week!  Mary

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Good Tuesday afternoon, readers!

Goodness, it’s good to be home. I returned on Sunday from 4 whirlwind days in Dallas Texas at the ACFW conference. What a great time I had with fellow Amish fiction authors, the folks from Harvest House Publishers, and my agent Mary Sue Seymour. I learned plenty from workshops given by Davis Bunn, Mark Kuyper, and Bonnie Calhoun. I participated in a “How to get published” panel with my agent and 5 fellow Amish fiction authors: Beth Wiseman, Amy Clipston, Amy Lilliard, Shelley Shepard Gray, Amanda Flower, and Jennifer Beckstrand. And 10 of us signed books out at the Hurst Lifeway store. Thanks to everyone who came out and showed support! We attended a gala dinner wherein winners were announced for this year’s Genesis and Carols Awards. Now I’m home with a ton of laundry and bills to pay. But ahhhh..it was so worth it. I hope you enjoy the photos.

 

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Happy Tuesday, Readers,

Without further ado, we have a winner in the drawing for Rebecca’s Rose by Jennifer Beckstrand. Drum roll please…Mary Ellen Ashenfelder, you are the lucky winner. I’ve met this writer and she is a lovely person, beside a great writer. So Mary Ellen, if you would contact me via email (not on the blog) with your mailing addresses, Jennifer will send a copy of Rebecca’s Rose out to you.

here’s my email address: maryeellis@yahoo.com

Here in Ohio, it’s raining and showing the first signs of fall. Yes, our furnace has already been on because I am a freeze-baby! Today I’m back to work, trying my best to make headway in Book 3 of the New Beginnings series, A Little Bit of Charm. Keep the faith, readers, and always make time in your busy days to read!

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This past weekend my husband and I, with our dear friends, went to the Sternwheel Festival in Marietta, Ohio, as we have for the last twenty years. What a great time we had. I love those old wooden sternwheelers! They hark back to a time when America was still young and wild. At least, life on the river was wild in the olden days. These boats traveled up and down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, a trip you can still take today on one of the two passenger sternwheel cruises running down to New Orleans. I wanted to ride on the Delta Queen for so many years, and now will never have the chance. That boat was removed from service due to maritime regulations, I believe. It’s hard to bring something designed for the nineteenth century into twenty-first rules and regulations. Anyway, I hope my readers will enjoy these photos of lovely old boats…still beautiful in our fast-paced, techno-world.

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Happy Labor Day, Readers! Today, Home Thoughts welcomes novelist Jennifer Beckstand to the  blog. Jennifer writes wonderful stories about people who are near-and-dear to my heart: the Amish. I asked Jennifer first to tell us something about her latest release, Rebecca’s Rose: (book 2 in Forever After in Apple Lake series)

When his widowed mother marries an outsider, Levi Cooper’s family leaves the Amish community and Levi is raised Englisch. But Levi’s world is shattered when the only father he knows divorces his mother and turns his back on the family. In his anger, Levi causes an accident that alters his life forever and sets him on the path of self-destruction. Does the pretty Amish girl from his old community hold the key to his heart and his redemption? With her mother so ill, Rebecca Miller runs her household, cares for the small farm, and watches after her younger siblings while her father, unwilling to care for his wife, is absent for days at a time working out-of-town jobs. Even though she feels trapped in her dismal life, Rebecca is determined to fulfill the promise she made to a dying friend. Englischer Levi Cooper, with uncommon good looks and a mischievous glint in his eye, might be the boy who can help her do just that. But will his secrets tear them apart or will their growing attachment lead to the loss of everything she holds dear?

Next I asked her how she got started writing: My love for romantic fiction was born when my older sister discovered “Pride and Prejudice.” She often shared her favorite passages with me. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do.  After hearing my sister read that, how could I not want to read the book myself? Jane Austen introduced me to the glorious world of romantic fiction. I jumped in with both feet. After my fourth daughter was born, I started writing. By juggling diaper changes, soccer games, music lessons, laundry, and two more children, I finished my first manuscript—a Western—in just under fourteen years. (I am happy to inform you that all my children have entered the public school system, and I can now write a book in significantly less time.) I sent my manuscript to an agent, who asked me to try my hand at writing Amish fiction. After much research and travel, I fell in love with the people and the genre. The Amish way of life reminds us of a simpler time when faith and family were more important than progress and possessions. I think people love reading Amish for that reason. 

Kate’s Song  (book 1 in series) is about choices. Kate is torn between her Amish culture and her music. In the story, Kate realizes that “every choice involves some kind of pain. Choosing one path means rejecting another, along with everything down it.” We all face heart-rending, life-changing choices. How do we seek God’s will and move forward without looking back?

My goal is to write uplifting, inspiring stories with happy endings and hopeful messages. If my books make readers want to give themselves a big hug or jump up and down for joy, I’ve done my job.

You can find out more about me at jenniferbeckstrand.com or on Facebook at Jennifer Beckstrand Fans.

Here’s your question, readers: Leave your answer on this blog to be entered in a contest to win Rebecca’s Rose. Drawing in one week.  Have you ever made a difficult choice? How has that choice affected the rest of your life?

Enjoy these waning days of summer!

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