If I were in were in the movies…..

Happy Thursday, readers,

I got together with my Amish fiction writer friends (idea from the awesome Jennifer Beckstrand) to talk about our latest books and the movies. Each author picked real life people to play the roles of their central characters AND also picked an actress (living or passed on) to play them in a movie about their lives. What fun we had with this question! Here are the answers:

Kelly Irvin: The actors for A Plain Love Song?

Clare Bowen (Scarlett from the TV show “Nashville”) would play Adah, my heroine. She’s perfect because she’s both an actress and a gifted singer and musician—everything Adah dreams of being. If Brad Paisley, the country music singer who does some acting, were younger, I’d have him play Jackson Hart, my would-be country star who woos Adah and teaches her to play the guitar. Zach Gilford (Matt Sorenson, “Friday Night Lights”) would be perfect for Matthew, the Plain man who loves Adah but can’t understand her desire to sing, play the guitar, and write songs. Again if he were younger.

I love this exercise because it plays right into my fantasy of A Plain Love Song becoming a Hallmark TV movie. A person can dream, right?

Kelly-2x3-Color<img class=”wp-image-3974 alignright” src=”http://www.jenniferbeckstrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Kelly-2×3-Color.jpg” alt=”Kelly-2×3-Color” width=”96″ height=”145″ />HEPBURN<img class=”wp-image-3973 alignright” src=”http://www.jenniferbeckstrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/katharine-hepburn-9-234×300.jpg” alt=”HEPBURN” width=”111″ height=”143″ />As for an actress to play me? Yikes. Totally wishful thinking on my part, but since reality doesn’t enter into this equation in any way, I would love for it to be my all time favorite actress, Katherine Hepburn. I love her movies and the way she aged with such grace and dignity, still playing great parts throughout her long life.

Amy Clipston: I love this question because I always have a celebrity in mind when I create my characters. Here are the celebrities I imagine for my upcoming Amish book, A Dream of Home.

Here’s a blurb for the book:

Moving to Pennsylvania wasn’t in Madeleine’s original plans. She should still be in California and should have married her pilot fiance a year ago-but death has a way of changing everything. Now the former Air Force flight nurse is living alone in Paradise, Pennsylvania, and working as a maid at the Lancaster Grand Hotel. She isn’t exactly a widow . . . but she sure feels like one.

Saul Beiler isn’t exactly a widower . . . but his wife is long gone. His eleven-year-old daughter, Emma, doesn’t know that her mother fled the Amish community-and married another man-but she does know that her dat is lonely, and that a pretty young maedel just moved in next door. Madeline’s numb heart begins to thaw as she spends more time with the innocent and ever optimistic Emma. The stronger her friendship grows with the young girl, the more intrigued Madeline grows about the humble, strong, man raising her on his own.

But even as a strange attraction pulls Saul and Madeleine across a stark cultural divide, they-and everybody else-have to wonder: What could they possibly have in common besides heartache? Will love allow Madeleine to finally find the home she’s been dreaming of all along?

And the characters:

Madeleine Miller – Mila Kunis

Saul Beiler – Andrew Garfield

Carolyn Lapp—Julia Stiles

Joshua Glick – Matt DamonJulia1<img class=” wp-image-3972 alignright” src=”http://www.jenniferbeckstrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Julia1-239×300.jpg” alt=”Julia1″ width=”100″ height=”126″ /> Amy Clipston Portrait<img class=” wp-image-3967 alignright” src=”http://www.jenniferbeckstrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Amy-Clipston-Portrait-230×300.jpg” alt=”Amy Clipston Portrait” width=”96″ height=”126″ />

I would love to see Julia Stiles play me, even though she’s a lot younger than I am. I just adore her!

 

Mary Ellis: For my latest Amish book, A Plain Man, I would love Josh Duhamel to play Caleb Beachy and Carly Rae Jepson to play his sweetheart, Josie Yoder. I would love Johnny Sequoyah (from the TV show Believe) to play Sarah Beachy and Johnny Galecky to play Adam Troyer.

photo 3<img class=” wp-image-3975 alignright” src=”http://www.jenniferbeckstrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/photo-3-255×300.jpg” alt=”photo 3″ width=”97″ height=”114″ /> 220px-Valerie_Bertinelli<img class=” wp-image-3965 alignright” src=”http://www.jenniferbeckstrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/220px-Valerie_Bertinelli-218×300.jpg” alt=”220px-Valerie_Bertinelli” width=”82″ height=”113″ />I would love the actress Valerie Bertinelli to play me, in a movie of my life. (What a sleeper that would be!!) I believe her sense of humor matches mine, and when I was much younger, everyone said that we looked alike. I don’t see any resemblance, but since she’s very pretty, I’ll happily take the compliment.

 Amanda Flower: From my Amish Quilt Shop Mystery Series

Angie Braddock, English owner of Running Stitch, an Amish quilt shop in Holmes County, OH– Kate Hudson

Sheriff James Mitchell, English Holmes County Sheriff– Patrick Dempsey

Rachel Miller, Angie’s best friend and Amish wife of Amish baker–Alexis Bledel (from Gilmore Girls)

Jonah Graber, Angie’s best childhood friend and Amish farmer–Dan Stevens (from Downton Abbey)

anne-hathaway-short-hairstyles-59977635<img class=”wp-image-3968 alignright” src=”http://www.jenniferbeckstrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/anne-hathaway-short-hairstyles-59977635-216×300.jpg” alt=”anne-hathaway-short-hairstyles-59977635″ width=”98″ height=”136″ /> Amanda Flower photo<img class=”wp-image-3966 alignright” src=”http://www.jenniferbeckstrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Amanda-Flower-photo-225×300.jpg” alt=”Amanda Flower photo” width=”101″ height=”134″ />If they made a movie of my life, I would like Anne Hathaway to play me. I think she could capture my quirkiness, and she seems to trip a lot in movies. I would need someone who could fall down well. I’m a klutz and stumble over my own two feet a lot.

Jennifer Beckstrand: My next book, Huckleberry Christmas, comes out on October 7. In Huckleberry Summer, Lily Eicher breaks Tyler Yoder’s heart. He is such a nice guy that I thought he deserved his own happily ever after. Enter Beth Hostetler, who doesn’t want anything to do with Tyler, or any man, for that matter.

Baby 1<img class=”alignleft wp-image-3976″ src=”http://www.jenniferbeckstrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Baby-1-199×300.jpg” alt=”Baby 1″ width=”93″ height=”140″ />Tyler Yoder would be played by a younger Jason Priestley. Beth Hostetler would be played by Sarah Michelle Geller (the brunette version), and Beth’s son Toby would be played by my grandson Calvin, who was my inspiration for the character. (I know you’re just dying to see a picture of my grandson.)

Jamie Lee Curtis_3-1024x816<img class=”wp-image-3970 alignright” src=”http://www.jenniferbeckstrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Jamie-Lee-Curtis_3-1024×816-300×239.jpg” alt=”Jamie Lee Curtis_3-1024×816″ width=”134″ height=”106″ /> Jennifer Beckstrand 1<img class=”wp-image-3971 alignright” src=”http://www.jenniferbeckstrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Jennifer-Beckstrand-1-283×300.jpg” alt=”Jennifer Beckstrand 1″ width=”98″ height=”105″ />I have been told that I look like Jamie Lee Curtis. We can both be kind of goofy. She’s very cute. I am flattered by the comparison.

 

 

Now, readers, who would play you in a movie?

Have a great week and weekend!! ~ Mary

Win a copy of Kelly Irvin’s new book, A Plain Love Song

Happy Monday, readers! Today we welcome author Kelly Irvin to Home Thoughts. Stay tuned to win a free copy of Kelly’s latest release, A Plain Love SongPlain Love Song AFirst, here’s a little about the story: Adah Knepp wants nothing more than to make music. It’s all she’s ever desired—to sing and play the guitar and write her own songs. That’s a dream that will never come true in the confines of her strict Amish community. But then she meets Jackson Hart, and suddenly she sees the chance for a different kind of life…a real stage, a real guitar, and a real opportunity to sing her songs to a real audience! But pursuing her dreams means turning her back on her faith, her family, and her community—and saying goodbye to Matthew, the gentle Amish farmer she can’t get out of her mind. Is it worth giving up the only home she’s ever known to pursue her dreams?

Kelly Irvin is a Kansas native and has been writing professionally for 30 years. She and her husband, Tim, make their home in Texas. They have two children, three cats, and a tankful of fish.  A public relations professional, Kelly is also the author of two romantic suspense novels and writes short stories in her spare time.

 

 

KellyFinal1 What are you working on now?

I’ve just turned in The Bishop’s Son to my publisher, Zondervan. It’s the second book in a new series, The Amish of Bee County, set in Bee County, Texas, where a tiny Amish District is located, the only one in the state. The galleys for the first book, The Beekeeper’s Son, arrived at the house today so I’ll be taking one last look at that book, which releases in January 2015. That leaves writing the third book in the series. I’m still doing a lot of thinking and only a little writing on that one!

Where can readers find A Plain Love Song? http://www.amazon.com/Plain-Love-Song-Hope-Amish/dp/0736954988/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1399148095&sr=8-1&keywords=A+Plain+Love+Song+by+Kelly+Irvin

To be entered in a drawing for a free signed copy, please leave your answer to this question: Why do you think most Amish districts prohibit musical instruments?

Here’s where you can find Kelly:

http://www.kellyirvin.com

Follow me on Twitter

Drawing in one week, readers. Hope you’re having a great August!  ~ Mary

Writing Process Blog Tour

Happy Memorial Day Weekend, readers,  I hope you’ll join me in thanking all the men and women in the US. military for their service to their country!

clipstonpublicityRecently, I was invited to participate in a blog tour by my good friend, Amy Clipston. Amy writes awesome romantic fiction set in the Amish community for Zondervan and Harper Collins and has won numerous awards. Amy’s latest book is A Mother’s Secret. She asked me to share my answers to four questions that authors from all over have been answering in this Writing Process Blog Tour.  Here are my answers:

What am I working on at the moment? Right now, I’m putting the last touches on book two of the Civil War Heroines Series, called The Lady and the Officer for Harvest House Publishers. While serving as a nurse in Gettysburg, Madeline Howard saves the life of a colonel in the Confederate Home Guard. Even though Maddy’s heart belongs to Union General James Downing, Colonel Haywood never forgets the beautiful nurse. When their paths cross in Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy, he’s determined to win her heart. Maddy has been busy eavesdropping on army officers and war department officials in her aunt’s palatial home. When she hears plans for Confederate attacks in northern Virginia, she passes the information along to Union officers, betraying the trust of her family and friends. Two men are in love with her. Will Maddy’s choices bring devastation on those she loves?Lady and the Officer, The

How does my work differ from others of its genre? Most fictional stories set during periods of political unrest assume a particular posture. Although my lead heroine will share my anti-slavery convictions, I attempt to portray the complexity of social issues. Usually there are no truly “good guys” by the time a war is over, no matter how well-intended people’s original motivations.

Why do I write what I do? I love to create stories about cultures I admire (I’ve written a dozen books set in Amish communities throughout the United States.) and romances set during turbulent periods of America’s past. I’ve always loved history and the way it has shaped laws governing us today. And love does have a way of surviving even during wartime, no matter how dire the circumstances.

How does my writing process work? I travel to the area where I plan to set a story to get details only available in person. In the case of historical novels, I research several times because there is always so much to learn. But in the end, I still end up making a few mistakes because so much information is ambiguous or incorrect. I’ve even seen two different accounts as to who won a particular battle at Civil War interpretive centers.

The Lady and the Officer is available for pre-book at Christianbook.com.

http://www.christianbook.com/lady-the-officer-civil-war-heroines/mary-ellis/9780736950541/pd/950541

I hope you’ll drop by next week’s blog tour participants: Kathleen Fuller and Carole Brown.

Kathleen Fuller writes lovely Amish romances and historical romance for Harper Collins. http://www.kathleenfuller.com/

Carole Brown writes for Lighthouse of the Carolinas. Her book, The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman was nominated for a Selah Award. http://sunnebnkwrtr.blogspot.com/

Drop by an see what these great authors have to say! Have a great Memorial Day weekend, readers. ~ Mary

 

 

Nothing quite as exciting for an author as a new book

A Plain ManHappy Thursday, readers,
There is nothing more exciting in an author’s humble life than when a new book releases. Day after day, writers sit cloistered in our offices pounding away at keyboards. Lunch in another room of the house becomes the highlight of our days. But today I’m tickled to announce my newest Amish romance is here. A Plain Man is the story of a prodigal son who comes home. Although Caleb Beachy tried the Englisch world for several years, he is a Plain man at heart. When he returns to the Amish lifestyle, he discovers there’s more to embracing his faith and reconnecting with the community than driving a horse and buggy and giving up his Levis. He struggles with his domineering father, the oppressive rules of his district and with the paralyzing guilt from past mistakes. Josie Yoder was just a girl when he left, but she’s all grown up now and still has a soft spot for Caleb. But Caleb carries enough shame and self-loathing to derail even a well-established relationship. Josie might be the love of his life, but will past sins end up destroying their fledgling romance?

I hope you’ll enjoy the story of a wounded heart finding joy, health, and healing in God’s infinite grace. Sign up for my newsletter from my website: www.maryellis.net for a chance to win one of 10 signed copies of A Plain Man on April 15th. If you’re already signed up, you’re in the drawing! For an additional chance to win, please leave me comment here on my blog!  A Plain Man is already available at CBD now and will release April 1st at Amazon and in stores. Here’s the links:

http://www.christianbook.com/a-plain-man-mary-ellis/9780736949804/pd/949804?event=Fiction

http://www.amazon.com/Plain-Man-Mary-Ellis-ebook/dp/B00I2YDBVQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1395331248&sr=1-1&keywords=a+plain+man

Have a great week, readers, and happy spring!! Mary

 

Giant Amish Fiction Book Giveaway

 

Good Monday afternoon, readers,

Great  News! 7 Best-selling Amish Authors, 27 books, 9 Winners,  in 1 Great Book Giveaway! 

On Wednesday, January 29, 7 authors are joining together for a great Amish book Giveaway.
All you have to do is stop by the following author’s websites and leave a comment.
Each author will randomly pick one or two winners. Each winner will receive a trio of books from 3 of the participating authors. All drawings will take place on Wednesday. Start my leaving a comment here! Then drop by as many sites as you can to leave a comment.
The more comments…the more chances to win!group_books
Here are the sites and facebook pages to leave a comment:
Vannetta Chapman: http://vannettachapman.com/
Good luck to everyone and happy reading!  Mary

Amish Authors Break Their Silence

Happy Tuesday, readers. Recently I joined with 6 other Amish fiction authors to participate in a blog-a-thon. Once a month all 7 of us will answer questions about Amish fiction. (This will be moderated by Jennifer Beckstrand) Hope you enjoy!

Okay, most of us Amish authors aren’t all that silent, but that title did spark your interest, didn’t it? Once a month on my blog, seven Amish authors are going to answer questions for our readers. This month, I made up the questions. Next month, I will probably still make up the questions. But if you have a question you would like to ask our distinguished panel, please use the contact form here on my site and send me your questions. We’d love to hear from you.

First, introductions. I am privileged to have some great friends who also happen to write Amish. The authors participating in our monthly blog are Vannetta Chapman, Amanda Flower, Amy Clipston, Mary Ellis, Shelley Shepard Gray, and Kelly Irvin. And me. Thanks, ladies. This is going to be fun.

First question: What is the first Amish book you ever read?

Vannetta: The first Amish book I read was not fiction! It was Suzanne Woods Fisher’s Amish Peace.

Amanda: Hidden by Shelley Shepard Gray

Amy: The Storekeeper’s Daughter by Wanda Brunstetter

Mary: When the Heart Cries by Cindy Woodsmall back in 2006. She got me hooked on Amish fiction with her Sisters of the Quilt series.

Shelley: Plain Truth, by Jodi Picoult

Kelly: When the Heart Cries by Cindy Woodsmall

Jennifer (me): Forgiven by Shelley Shepard Gray

If you could give yourself an Amish name, what would it be?

Vannetta: Oh, possibly Rachel. My name is difficult to say and spell, so I’d go with something simple!

Amanda: This is hard because I really like my real name and already have a pen name “Isabella Alan.” I guess it would be Becky Troyer… it sounds like an strong Ohio Amish name, and yes, it is the name of character from Appleseed Creek.

Amy: Definitely Katie!  I’ve always loved that name.

Mary:  Elizabeth Miller. Elizabeth is my mother’s name, and I love it! And Miller because I live close to Millersburg, Ohio. Then I can go from having only a handful of relatives to having hundreds and hundreds!!

Shelley: I think it would probably be the name of the heroine in my current work in progress. So that would be Ruth.

Kelly: Elizabeth, because I admire John the Baptist’s mother.

Jennifer: I love the name Kate. My first book is titled Kate’s Song. I have a daughter named Kate. And Kate Hepburn isn’t Amish, but she rocks!

How many Amish books have you written?

Vannetta: I have 8 Amish books published, and 3 more completed and in the editing process, plus another 5 contracted to be published in the next few years.

Amanda: 5 published, 7 written. Two are coming out in 2014: Murder, Simply Stitched and A Plain Malice.

Amy: I’m currently working on #12.

Mary: To date I have written 12 Amish books.

Shelley: Just finished number 22!

Kelly: Seven.

Jennifer: Four published, three more finished. (I feel like a newbie amongst these prolific writers!)

What is your latest book about?

Vannetta: My latest book, The Christmas Quilt, is about how a family and a community pull together to help a young couple going through a difficult time.

Amanda: My very latest book is Andi Unexpected, which is a mystery for children. They live in rural Ohio but are not Amish. My latest Amish book is Murder, Plain and Simple written under my pen name Isabella Alan. When Angela Braddock inherits her late aunt’s beautiful Amish quilt shop, she leaves behind her career and broken engagement for a fresh start in Holmes County, Ohio. With her snazzy cowboy boots and her ornithophobic French bulldog, Angie doesn’t exactly fit in with the predominantly Amish community in Rolling Brook, but her aunt’s quilting circle tries to make her feel welcome as she prepares for the reopening of Running Stitch. On the big day, Angie gets a taste of success as the locals and Englisch tourists browse the store’s wares while the quilters stitch away. But when Angie finds the body of ornery Amish woodworker Joseph in her storeroom the next morning, everything starts falling apart. With evidence mounting against her, Angie is determined to find the culprit before the local sheriff can arrest her. Rolling Brook always appeared to be a simple place, but the closer Angie gets to the killer, the more she realizes that nothing in the small Amish community is as plain as it seems….

Amy: A Mother’s Secret will debut in June, and it’s book #2 in my Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series.  In A Mother’s Secret, Carolyn Lapp hopes to find true love despite her brother’s insistence that happiness can come from a marriage of convenience.

Mary: My latest Amish book, A Plain Man, picks up the story from Sarah’s Christmas Miracle. It answers the question: What happens when a man returns to the Amish culture after being an Englischer for five years? It will release in April from Harvest House Publishers.

Shelley: My next book will be released on February 4. It’s titled Hopeful and it’s the first book in my Return to Sugarcreek trilogy. My heroine’s name is Miriam and she’s a cook and waitress at the Sugarcreek Inn. She has a crush on the very handsome Junior Beiler, he’s in love with the new school teacher-oh, and there’s a stranger in town, stalking the teacher. All I can say is that everything turns out just fine in the end.

Kelly: Love Redeemed, which releases March 1, is the story of a young Amish woman who makes an innocent mistake with tragic consequences. She and the man she loves are forgiven by their small community, but they have to learn to forgive themselves before they can share a life together.

Jennifer: Huckleberry Hill features a pair of Amish grandparents who try to find suitable mates for all their grandchildren. Their grandson, Moses, resists their meddling, but he can’t resist pretty Lia Shetler.

You can learn more about these great authors on their websites. We would all love it if you would like our Facebook pages too!

Vannetta Chapman: http://vannettachapman.com/

https://www.facebook.com/VannettaChapmanBooks

 Amanda Flower: http://www.amandaflower.com/

https://www.facebook.com/authoramandaflower https://www.facebook.com/IsabellaAlanAuthor

Amy Clipston: http://www.amyclipston.com/

https://www.facebook.com/AmyClipstonBooks

Mary Ellis: http://www.maryellis.net/

https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Mary-Ellis/126995058236

Shelley Shepard Gray: http://www.shelleyshepardgray.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ShelleyShepardGray

Kelly Irvin: http://www.kellyirvin.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Kelly.Irvin.Author

Jennifer Beckstrand: JenniferBeckstrand.com

https://www.facebook.com/jenniferbeckstrandfans

 

One day sale of all Miller Family series for e-readers

Happy Tuesday, readers,

Well, I won’t even talk about the weather, because the moment I say anything the weather changes in Ohio. We’ve gone to twelve degrees below zero last week to temperatures in the low forties over the weekend. Today it was rainy and mild, like a spring day. But before I dig out the capri pants and sandals, it’s supposed to snow tomorrow. Instead, I will ask if any of you received e-readers for Christmas…or just because you’ve been a fine person lately.

All four of my Miller Family series are on sale TODAY ONLY for electronic readers. So go to your favorite electronic book site, including CBD, Kindle and Nook, and download A Widow’s Hope for .99 cents, A Widow's Hope 4_5 copyNever Far from Home for 1.99, Never Far From HomeThe Way to a Man’s Heart for 1.99, and An Amish Family Reunion (book 4) for 1.99. Prices like that will only last a day! No, I don’t believe I make a dime at these prices, but I want my readers to fill in any blanks they have in my back-list. Here’s the Amazon link, but the other outlets will have them, too.

The Way to A Man's Heart

An Amish Family Reunion (08.18Have a great week, readers! And if you don’t like the weather…just wait a few days. Who knows what you’ll get next!

If you haven’t already done so, please sign up for my newsletter in the right-hand sidebar. I will be giving away 10 copies of The Quaker and the Rebel on Feb. 15th to newsletter subscribers. Good luck!

~Mary