It’s Not About Me

Hello, readers! Although usually I write mysteries and romantic suspense set in the South, recently I wrote a story set in an Amish community. My characters use their faith and trust in God to solve their problems. My hope as an author is that my fictional stories will encourage readers during their own times of tribulation. Shortly after I began my writing career, and experienced a modicum of success, I made a sign to hang over my desk of a favorite Scripture:  “But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”  Matthew 23:12 NLT

My mother had her own version of that particular passage: Stop tooting your own horn. And her favorite: The less said about one’s self the better. The immortal maxims of my late mother still ring in my ears today, making me smile. The problem is Mom was a stay-at-home housewife, not a published author. How does a Christian balance being humble with the necessity of self-promotion, essential in the world of publishing? Not only writers, but musicians, dancers, actors, salespeople, public speakers, sports figures and of course, politicians must do quite a bit of horn-tooting to stay in the game. Even doctors and lawyers appear on TV enticing us to file that lawsuit or get that tummy-tuck expressly from them. Often this type of marketing isn’t just expected but required in the fine print of contracts.
I have struggled with the dilemma of promotion vs. setting oneself above others. I don’t like having to say: “look at me and what I’ve accomplished” even though I’m expected to blog, Facebook and participate in author interviews. So I must walk a narrow path between not puffing myself up, and spreading the word that a book about God’s infinite grace, mercy and love has just been released.  I focus on one undeniable truth: God gave me whatever humble abilities I possess. As long as He continues to put words into my head, I will continue to turn them into gentle stories meant to inspire. I hope I never forget: It’s not about me. It’s all by His hand and for His glory.
Have a lovely Thanksgiving, readers!!   Mary Ellis
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Favorite Christmas Memory and Favorite Cookie Recipe

When I think back to Christmas as a child, I remember gathering at the home of one of my aunts on Christmas Eve. We would enjoy a potluck dinner and catch up on family news—coming babies, recent graduations and other milestones. Before the families separated to attend church services, the children anxiously awaited the arrival of one special guest—Santa Claus. My uncle would dress up in full costume and arrive with great fanfare down the staircase. He carried a velvet sack filled with gifts for good girls and boys from infants through college-aged. Since I was the youngest of my generation, I was the last child who still believed in Santa Claus. When I finally discovered the truth about the man-in-red, I played along with the subterfuge for years. I didn’t want to spoil the fun for my mother and aunts. Finally when I was in the sixth grade and Santa passed out his gifts, I said, “Hi, Uncle Louie. Thanks for the gift.” My mother and aunts looked broken-hearted, but all good things must come to an end.

Looking back, I’m grateful for the joy they preserved for me because of their love. And because of God’s unending love and the gift of His son…once again I have something to believe in. Merry Christmas! May God’s blessings rain down on your family during this special season.
Snickerdoodles
1 cup butter, softened (do not use margarine)
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
¼ cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
3 ¾ cups flour
¾ tsp. baking powder
cinnamon sugar
Cream together the butter and sugar. To this mixture add the eggs, milk, and vanilla, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift together the flour and baking powder; then add the creamed mixture. Roll dough into little balls and then roll in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and flatten slightly. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
   Need a Christmas novella to get you in the Christmas spirit? Sarah’s Christmas Miracle is available in all electronic formats for $2.99.
And don’t forget to enter the Suspense Sisters fabulous Christmas giveaway! One winner will walk away with a gorgeous quilt, plus books, candy, Christmas items and gift cards.  Winner will be drawn on Dec. 22nd. Scroll down to Dec. 1st to enter. Enter the contest by clicking this link an scrolling down at:  SUSPENSE SISTERS

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Christmas anthology of novellas available now

Amish Christmas MemoriesHappy Monday, Readers. I’m afraid I’ve been MIA of late due to putting the finishing touches on book 2 of the Secrets of the South mysteries, What Happened on Beale Street. But I’m happy to announce the release of an anthology of Christmas novellas with two friends of mine, Jerry Eicher and Murray Pura. Here’s what the back cover has to say:  Three delightful Christmas Amish novellas are now combined into one charming ebook! Amish Christmas Memories contains heartwarming holiday tales from three beloved authors.

From author Jerry Eicher comes the inspiring novella, Susanna’s Christmas

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Jerry Eicher

Wish. Susanna Byler wants to spend the holidays with the man of her dreams. But is that the plain Amishman she married for convenience, or her Englisha first love who recently reappeared in her life?

Sarah’s Christmas Miracle by Mary Ellis will add joy to the Christmas season. As Christmas approaches, Sarah Beachy searches for her brother who left the Order years ago. Sarah’s mother has been missing her son for so long…will she also lose her daughter to the English? Or will this family receive an unexpected miracle?

Murray PuraAuthor Murray Pura brings a tender story of reconciliation in An Amish Family Christmas. Naomi Miller’s friend Rebecca tries to help her recover from tragedy. Then Rebecca’s brother–Naomi’s husband–returns from the military and is shunned. An unexpected turn of events sets things right, bringing this Amish family and their community a truly joyous celebration.

Join Susanna, Sarah, and the Millers in these warm and tender Amish Christmas memories. Available now in all electronic formats, including Sony Reader, Kobo, Nook and Amazon.

Sleighride in Ohio's Amish CountryPhoto taken in Ohio’s beautiful Amish country at Christmastime. Hope you put Amish Christmas Memories on your holiday reading list.

See you next week,  Mary

Two on my historical romances available dirt cheap in e-books

Happy Monday, readers,

Quaker and the Rebel, TheAnybody who prefers reading books on their electronic devices can find two of my historical romances on sale. The Quaker and the Rebel will be $.99 for the entire month of September for Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Apple, and Google Play formats. And book two of the Civil War Heroines series, The Lady and the Officer, will be $1.99 from September 1-30 as well. Now’s the time to give historical romance a try if you haven’t already done so.Lady and the Officer, The

 

 

 

You prefer Amish fiction to American history? Remember, Love Comes to Paradise is still $1.99 at Amazon. Here’s the link:

http://www.amazon.com/Love-Comes-Paradise-Beginnings-Book-ebook/dp/B00B03M54U/ref=sr_1_1_twi_kin_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1441035324&sr=8-1&keywords=love+comes+to+paradiseOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Enjoy these waning summer days. Fall will be here in 3 short weeks, and I am so not ready!!

Best regards, Mary

We have a winner and A Marriage for Meghan for $1.99

Happy Monday, readers,

I hope spring has sprung where you are. It has certainly come to Ohio. I have plenty of wildflowers2014-04-29 13.38.30 blooming in my woods along with my magnolia trees.

Congrats to Lorraine A. ~ You’re the lucky winner of Laura Hilton’s book, The Postcard. I have contacted Lorraine privately for a mailing address, but thanks to everyone who dropped Laura a comment last week.  I was tickled to see so people still love Amish fiction. Speaking of which, one of my favorite books, A Marriage for Meghan, is still priced at $1.99 at CBD in print. Such a bargain if you happened to have missed that one. A Marriage for MeghanHere’s the link:

http://www.christianbook.com/a-marriage-for-meghan-wayne-county/mary-ellis/9780736930109/pd/930109?event=EBRN

Have a great week, readers. ~  Mary

Welcome Laura Hilton ~ Win a free copy of her book!

 

Today Home Thoughts welcomes Laura Hilton, who has a lovely new book out, The Postcard. If you leave a comment for Laura, you’ll be entered in a drawing to win a signed copy of The Postcard. Drawing in one week.

PostCardFirst, here’s a summary of the new book, The Postcard: David Lapp survived a “code blue” when he was in a buggy/semi truck accident in Seymour, Missouri. Now after extensive therapy he has lingering mobility problems and is still struggling to find his place in the world. Lured away from Webster County by thoughts of closed buggies and a postcard friendship he’s developed with an Amish girl in Jamesport, he moves north, hoping for a fresh start. He finds work in the area tying flies and basket weaving, selling his products in the Amish markets in the Jamesport area.

Rachel Miller dreams of travel, but feels tied to her Amish life. She is being courted by Obadiah Graber, but wonders if there’s more to life. When she sees David’s name mentioned in The Budget, she strikes up a pen pal friendship with David while he’s in the hospital and in therapy, consoling him when he and his girlfriend part ways. She never dreams that David will come north and move into her community. David is still fearful in the buggy, especially in high traffic areas. Feeling he’s called by God to preach, David spends hours in the Bible, but the Amish discourage him, believing their ministers should be drawn by lot. Will David follow his call, even if it takes him out of the Amish church? Will Rachel realize her dream to travel?

Laura HiltonHere’s a bit of background: Award winning author, Laura Hilton, her husband, Steve, and their five children make their home in Arkansas. She is a pastor’s wife, a stay-at-home mom and home-schools. Laura is also a breast cancer survivor. Her publishing credits include three books in the Amish of Seymour series from Whitaker House: Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts (winner of the 2012 Clash of the Titles Award in two categories), and Promised to Another. The Amish of Webster County series, Healing Love (finalist for the 2013 Christian Retail Awards). Surrendered Love and Awakened Love followed by her first Christmas novel, A White Christmas in Webster County, as well as the Amish of Jamesport series, The Snow Globe, The Postcard in April 2015, and The Birdhouse in September 2015. Other credits include Swept Away from Abingdon Press’ Quilts of Love series. Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer.

What are you working on now, Laura Hilton? I am working on the first book of a new series with a working title of The Amish Firefighter.   It hopefully will be available in April 2016.   My next book is The Birdhouse and it releases in September 2015.   I am also working on a contemporary Christmas story with a working title of Christmas Mittens.  No release date.

Here’s how to reach Laura:

visit my blogs: http://lighthouse-academy.blogspot.com/  & http://lauravhilton.blogspot.com/ 

Here’s where to purchase The Postcard:

http://www.amazon.com/Laura-V.-Hilton/e/B004IRSM5Q

Answer this question to be entered in a drawing for The Postcard: Have you ever had a penpal and did you meet?
Drawing in one week! Have a lovely Spring week, readers! My daffodils and forget-me-nots are up so life is good!! ~ Mary Ellis

 

Win of copy of A Faith of Her Own by Kathleen Fuller

A Faith of Her Own 9.29.14Happy 3rd day of Spring, readers. Today Home Thoughts welcomes Kathleen Fuller who has a brand new book just released: A Faith of Her Own. Can Anna Mae heed God’s call on her life, even if it means leaving behind everything she knows . . .  and everyone she loves? Ever since Anna Mae’s childhood friend Jeremiah left their Amish community, she’s questioned her own place in the Amish world.  The Amish life feels as if it’s closing in on her, and with her mother trying to set her up with potential suitors, Anna Mae feels trapped in a life she’s not sure she wants anymore. But she’s never told anyone that she longs for a tiny taste of freedom—freedom that could be very costly. When Jeremiah suddenly reappears in Middlefield to help his mentor, Yankee veterinarian Dr. Miller, new questions surface for Anna Mae, along with feelings she’d never fully acknowledged before. As Anna Mae and Jeremiah rekindle their friendship, old feelings take on new meaning. Yet the question still lingers: What is God’s plan for her life? Should she stay, keeping loyal to her Amish family, or does God have a bigger plan—one that provides more freedom than she could imagine? The answers do not come easily, and the answer to God’s call may lie in different directions . . . for both of them.

Kathy FullerKathleen Fuller, one of my favorite authors, is the author of over twenty-five books, including the best-selling Hearts of Middlefield series. A former special education teacher, she and her husband James split their time between Ohio and Arkansas. They are the parents of three awesome kids,  three amazing dogs, and one sweet but overwhelmed cat. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kathleen-Fuller/625583260853477?ref=hl Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/kathyfuller/ Twitter: @TheKatJam

Kathy, what are you working on now? Currently I’m finishing up the second book in the Amish of Birch Creek series, An Unbroken Heart. This is a brand new series that launches in September, 2015. The first book is titled A Reluctant Bride and is available for pre-order on amazon.com.

Please leave a comment for Kathy, for a chance to win a signed copy of A Faith of Her Own. Drawing on Monday, March 30th. Happy Spring everyone!  ~ Mary