Finding inspiration from another writer’s journal

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending a weekend retreat with eight other fiction writers. Although the cabin could have been warmer and the weather less rainy, I loved sharing stories, good food, and laughter with like-minded women. One of the participant’s keeps a journal. Sandra Merville Hart read us her entry that morning. I was impressed with her graceful, evocative prose. Come share the joys of a vacation cabin in early spring in Hocking Hills, Ohio.

Early Morning Thoughts at a Writers Retreat by Sandra Merville Hart 

I’m at a writers retreat this morning. It’s 7:10 am and I’m showered and dressed. It’s been raining since before Becky and I arrived yesterday afternoon.

Mary isn’t feeling well. The damp chill is having a harsh effect on her RA. I think she slept some but not nearly enough. I believe she’s upstairs resting in the recliner now.

It felt like a refrigerator in this cabin basement last night. I’m glad I brought an extra blanket.

Carole just popped her head in. She was freezing last night, too — so chilled, in fact, that she now has a headache because of it. This rustic and homey cabin is beating us up a little. I have a headache and the start of a cold. Mine might be from taking a not-too-warm shower. I rushed for fear that the water would get completely cold.

I hear voices now — Carole and Tamera, I think. Michelle just turned on the light in the futon room.

The authors are waking up. Beware, world. Who knows what will happen in our morning’s writing session?

Killers revealed? Innocent people murdered in a crime of greed?

A man and woman in a promising dating relationship quarrel over some insignificant event and it spirals out of control. Or maybe they fight over something vitally important and seemingly part ways forever. Seemingly. We authors excel at painting a picture of how bad it gets when people don’t communicate.

Perhaps a couple will receive news of a pregnancy. She’s thrilled; he pushes for an abortion.

How about a story of a little girl who befriends the lonely old woman next door — the one who doesn’t want any children walking through her yard so the child stays on her side of the bushes and talks louder?

Knowing Michelle, some sci-fi adventure will take place in a scope and dimension that my brain can only marvel at.

Or perhaps we will step back in time to Victorian America with settings in a small town, a prairie, or a progressive college.

Just look out world. The authors will be hard at work today. And we hope you are the better for it. We will be.

I’ve had the pleasure of reading Sandy’s debut novel, A Stranger on My Land, and found it delightful.A Stranger On My Land

Sandy HartHere’s her bio: Sandra Merville Hart loves to find unusual facts in her historical research to use in her stories. She and her husband enjoy traveling to many of the sites in her books to explore the history. She serves as Assistant Editor for and contributes articles about history and holidays. She has written for several publications and websites including The Secret Place, Harpstring, Splickety Magazine, Pockets Magazine, Common Ground, Afictionado, and Her inspirational Civil War novella, A Stranger on My Land, released on August 21, 2014.


Have a good week readers. Stay warm…stay dry…spring is almost here!  ~ Mary

Contest to win a copy of Sarah’s Christmas Miracle

 Hello everyone, the great folks at are running a super contest on their newsletter. They’ll be giving away 75 copies of my latest release, Sarah’s Christmas Miracle. Hurry and enter the contest by Nov. 29th–just in time for holiday reading by the fire. Go to and sign up for their newsletter to win my book and plenty of others. Good luck to you all. newsletter is celebrating the release of SARAH’S CHRISTMAS MIRACLE — a heartwarming holiday story of one sister’s quest to find her estranged brother in time for Christmas — with a special contest. Seventy-five readers will have the opportunity to each win a copy of Mary Ellis’s latest novel. The deadline for entries is Monday, November 29th at noon ET.

Sarah Beachy has plenty to be joyous about as autumn leaves start to fall. She loves her job at the English bed-and-breakfast where she cooks and refreshes rooms between guests. She has a serious beau, and everyone expects an engagement soon. Why, then, would she jeopardize everything by suddenly deciding to take a trip to Cleveland to track down a brother who left the Order years ago?

-Click here to read more about SARAH’S CHRISTMAS MIRACLE
-Click here to read an excerpt from SARAH’S CHRISTMAS MIRACLE.
-Click here to read Mary Ellis’s bio.

Click here to read all the contest details

New Amish Reader Website up and running

I am very excited to announce the debut of a new website designed for lovers of Amish fiction. This beautiful new site showcases the work of various authors who write books about a wonderful Christian culture–the Amish. Look for recipes and book trailers and author bios. There will be a chance to interact with your favorite Amish authors and be the first to hear about new releases. Photographs will be posted from the Ohio and Pennsylvania counties and Amish Country events will be announced  and later discussed.

Please visit the new Amish Reader website often. We need feedback from you, our cherished readers of Amish fiction. Tell us what you think and how we can improve.

Please visit the site at and leave a post.  We’d love to hear from you.

Hello world!