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

Authors and their most embarrassing moments

Happy Thursday, Readers,

Today I’m sharing a blog with my fellow authors of Amish fiction. We all answered the same question: What was your most embarrassing moment? Enjoy the replies from my fellow storytellers about the Amish community:

empireJennifer Beckstrand: When I was seventeen, my neighbor set me up on a blind date with her nephew. He was really cute and really tall. He took me to see the premiere of “The Empire Strikes Back.” It was a hot summer day and we had to stand in an impossibly long line for the movie. He turned to me and said, “Would you like an ice cream or something?” I said no. I turned away from him and felt his hand on my shoulder. I turned back and watched as he fainted flat on the ground. He must have overheated. I didn’t know what to do, so I just stood there and watched as a complete stranger helped him off the ground and to a seat. I must admit, I considered pretending I didn’t know him. The good news is that the theater management let us go into the empty theater to sit and cool off. We got the best seats and free soda.

Shelley Shepard Gray: Unfortunately, I have a lot of embarrassing moments! I’ve fallen down more flights of stairs than I care to recall! But one that particularly stands out happened at a writers conference about ten years ago.

It was soon after I had sold my first book to Harlequin and I was going to my first ever Harlequin party. All the authors had directions on how to get to the party, which was basically to go out the front door of the hotel lobby and look for the correct shuttle, car, or van. So, there I was, all dressed up with my girlfriend Ann, going to our first publisher-sponsored party. Together we sail through the lobby, spy all the shuttles and such waiting out front, and see a very nice vehicle with a discreet sign on one of the windows saying ‘Harlequin’. Our ride!

Feeling like princesses for the night, Ann and I walk up to the fancy van, open up the door, hop in, and sit down. And then notice that we recognize every face. This wasn’t the newbie van. This was the VIP van, filled with very well known, award-winning, best-selling authors. We were in the wrong car. The really wrong car! They were all staring at us like we were crazy stalkers.

I froze. So did Ann! Then one of the authors’ handlers whispered something like, “Honey, you need to get out. Like, right now.”

Without a word, Ann and I scooted out of the van, got in the line for our correct bus, and then laughed until we cried.

I have to admit I still blush every time I see one of those authors!

Mary Ellis: What an easy question! After 30 + years, one afternoon stands out.sailboat

My husband and I were invited to spend the day with a work acquaintance & her husband on their sailboat. I am not a mariner by any stretch of the imagination. When we were pulling up to a dock for lunch, her husband asked me to tie the rope around the cleat. I stepped onto the dock with one foot while remaining on the boat with the other. With my weight balanced between land and boat, I attempted to tie a knot to his specifications. You guessed it….the boat drifted away from the dock and I fell into the water. I was wearing a swimsuit and can swim, but everyone eating lunch witnessed my foolishness. But truly, the other couple was more embarrassed than I was. They never invited us back for anymore outings.

Kelly Irvin: Embarrassing moments? It seems there is a plethora from which to choose! Most of them are work-related. There’s the time I was working as a reporter for a newspaper in Laredo, Texas, where the summers swelter with heat and humidity. So I wore a sundress to cover a City Council meeting. The zipper broke and left the dress rather backless and hanging off my front. I rushed out, raced home, changed, and raced back. Fortunately, the council members were so long winded I didn’t miss much. Unfortunately, the county treasurer was sitting behind me and witnessed the entire debacle.

Fast forward twenty-five years and there’s the time I did a face plant by tripping over a parking lot barrier in front of a Park Police officer and recreation center staff members while discussing an upcoming ribbon-cutting. Or the time I locked my keys in the car twice in one week, once with the car running.

The ultimate blooper, however, occurred very recently. I had coordinated a ribbon-cutting ceremony and I walked back to the parking lot, camera around my neck, purse slung over my shoulder, my hands full with a box of six full-sized gold-painted shears. I clicked my key remote in back of “my” SUV, set the box on the asphalt, and then opened the hatch. The woman sitting in the driver’s seat glanced in the rear view mirror and said, very calmly, “This one’s mine.” Only then did it hit me that the car engine was running. I stammered an apology, closed the hatch, picked up my box, and moved on.

Those are a few highlights from the Kelly Irvin blooper reel. I can think of several more.

Vannetta Chapman: Most embarrassing moment? There are too many to count, so I’ll go with a recent one.

Hubby and I went out to run errands and we even stopped for lunch. Ours is a little town, so you know everyone you see. Only when I got back home, did I notice that my shirt was on in-side out. I would like to say this is rare, but sadly it happens all too often. :)

Amanda Flower: My most embarrassing moment… it’s hard to pick. I’m pretty klutzy and had been known to walk into walls and trip down and up stairs. When I bought my first car, which was a long time ago, I was so nervous while writing the down payment check. It was a lot of money to me at the time. While writing the check, I dropped my pen. When I bent over to pick it up,  I cracked my forehead on the salesman’s desk. Ouch! It hurt! The salesman didn’t say a word about it, and I pretended nothing happened too.

school-busAmy Clipston: My most embarrassing moment took place in high school when I fell off the school bus. Since my stop was the first, the whole bus got to witness my clumsiness. Thankfully, my best friend since Kindergarten, Christine, was with me. We laughed the whole way up the street to our house. My knee was throbbing in pain, but all I could do was laugh!

Amy Lillard: I guess I don’t embarrass easily, but…You know when you are trying to appear professional and all-together? Early on in my relationship with her, I was emailing back and forth with my agent, Mary Sue Seymour. I start my email with “Dear Ms. Seymour, dada, dada, dada.” At the end of her response she wrote “Call me Mary Sue”. Good girl that I am, I picked up the phone and called, but got no answer. I emailed back and said that I tried to call but no one picked up. She responded with something to the effect of “we are busy and don’t always answer the phone. Email is a much better tool of communication for us.” Huh? Then why did she tell me to call her? I let the matter drop and stewed on it a couple of days. Then it hit me–she wasn’t telling me to  call her on the phone but to address her as Mary Sue. Still shaking my head over that one. LOL

We invite any and all sharing of most embarrassing moments in the comments.

You can learn more about these great authors on their websites. And be sure to 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

Amy Lillard: http://amywritesromance.com/ 

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Amy-Lillard-Author/177732292332322

 

Ask an Amish author about books and such……

Yes, it’s time once again for “Everything you wanted to know about Amish authors but were afraid to ask.” Of course, maybe you aren’t afraid to ask but just haven’t known whom to ask. Well, wonder no further. Jennifer Beckstrand has gathered eight Amish authors together to ask them the burning questions. If you have a question for our authors, please send Jennifer a message via her website (link at end), and we will do our best to answer it in a future blog.

We all have childhood memories of special books. What are some of the books that inspired you as a child?

Mary Ellis: I adored Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I got the impetus to become a writer “when I grew up” from Jo March. I received my first copy around 8 (a highly abridged illustrated edition.) I now own several editions, my favorite being a 1904 copy published by Little, Brown, and Company of Boston. On my bucket list is to find a first edition released by the University Press in Cambridge, Mass. I have been to her childhood home, Orchard House, where she penned her lovely tale in Concord, Mass. Okay, now you know I’m a Louisa groupie!<img alt=”” src=”http://feministclassics.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/jw_smith_pix_bookcover.jpg” width=”170″ height=”237″ />

Vannetta Chapman: My grandmother was a writer, and I can remember sitting with her books in my lap. They were home economics books that had been translated into many different languages. I couldn’t actually read them, but I’d hold them and flip through the pictures. It was very special knowing my grandmother had written them.

Kelly Irvin: All the Little House on the Prairie books, A Wrinkle in Time, Little Women, The Changling, Harriet the Spy, The Oregon Trail. Nancy Drew mysteries. LOL. I read everything I could get my hands on as a kid. I lived at the public library, going to story hour every week and working as a volunteer shelving books when I was old enough. I think I read every book at the Robert Louis Stevens children’s section of the Abilene Public Library!

Shelley Shepard Gray: I mainly remember reading all of the Nancy Drew books, followed by all of the Agatha Christie novels. I don’t really write mysteries, but those books definitely inspired me to want to create characters that people want to get to know. Those books also spurred an interest in collecting books. At one time I had all the Agatha Christie books lined up in chronological order. That’s kind of a big deal for me, since I don’t even put soup on the same shelf in our pantry.

Amanda Flower: Charlotte’s Web, The Baby-sitters Club, Anything by Beverly Cleary, James and Giant Peach

<img alt=”” src=”http://mybookwormblog.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/charlottes-web1.jpeg” width=”146″ height=”222″ />Amy Clipston: My favorite book when I was a little girl was Elizabeth by Liesel Moak Skorpen. It’s out of print now, but I have a copy that I cherish. I also knew Good Night Moon by heart. My mother would turn the page, and I would recite it. When I was in junior high I read The Outsiders until the book fell apart. I also knew the movie by heart. I recently bought a set of S.E. Hinton books for my older son. He hasn’t opened one yet, but I’m not giving up hope yet!

Jennifer Beckstrand: Where the Red Fern Grows was one of those life-changing books for me. I remember sitting on the rug in Mrs. Hershey’s fourth grade class enthralled as she read to us. I think I have read that book to every one of my children. One of my favorite memories is sitting on the bed with my boys reading the last pages of the story, all three of us crying like babies when the dogs died.

Charlotte’s Web and The Outsiders are other tear-jerkers that really had an impact on me.

Amy Lillard: I think I had a lot of different reading material than most. I loved the Hardy Boys Mysteries (Not Nancy Drew but the Hardy Boys). I also loved the Miss Pickerell series, about a little old lady who manages to get into all sorts of trouble. But my favorite of all was a book called Shadow Castle.

What are your 4 or 5 favorite classic novels?

Mary Ellis: Gone With the Wind, Cold Mountain, Killer Angels, Great Expectations, The Stand

Vannetta Chapman: Jane Eyre, Little Women, Anna Karenina, Grapes of Wrath<img alt=”” src=”http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/79/To_Kill_a_Mockingbird.JPG” width=”145″ height=”214″ />

Kelly Irvin: That is so hard! To Kill a Mocking Bird. Gone with the Wind. Anna Karenina, Doctor Zhivago, The Count of Monte Cristo, Gaudy Night

Shelley Shepard Gray: Gone with the Wind, To Kill A Mockingbird, Little Women, Murder on the Orient Express, Cannery Row

Amanda Flower: Charlotte’s Web, To Kill a Mockingbird, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Stuart Little

Amy Clipston: The Outsiders, Farewell to Arms, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic, and Falling Up

Jennifer Beckstrand: Pride and Prejudice–my all-time favorite book, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Help, My Name is Asher Lev, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Ender’s Game, Ella Enchanted

Sorry, I can’t choose just 5!

Amy Lillard: I love To Kill A Mockingbird. That’s my all time favorite. I read it every year or so. I also love 1984, Of Mice and Men, and Lord of the Flies. All very different from what I write.

I love seeing what we all have in common as well as our differing tastes. To Kill a Mockingbird and Little Women show up quite a bit.

Have you ever used a personal experience in one of your books? Would you like to tell us about it? 

Mary Ellis: I use personal experiences in just about all my books. The trick for the reader is to figure out what’s fact and what’s fiction in my stories.

Vannetta Chapman: Oh, golly yes! Whenever my mind draws a blank — I just put in something from life! In my new release, Murder Simply Brewed, the romance is very similar to the story of me and my husband. :)<img src=”http://www.jenniferbeckstrand.com/wp-includes/images/smilies/icon_smile.gif” alt=”:)” />

Kelly Irvin: Yes. My March release, Love Redeemed, draws on a personal experience. Without revealing too much of the story, I can share that I lost a brother who drowned in a boating accident in 1991. It’s taken that many years, but I was able to drawn on those emotions and the experience of what my parents went through to help my characters as they struggle through a similar loss. I do think, however, that we draw on all our experiences when we write, even if it’s not readily apparent. Who we are and what we’ve done throughout our lives colors everything we write, even if it’s subconsciously. My writing voice is mine because of everything that has happened to me in my life.

Shelley Shepard Gray: I’ve added all kinds of little ‘Shelley’ things to my books. I’ve had badly behaved dogs (our beagle once pulled a ham from a table two minutes before a dinner party), kitchen mishaps, characters enjoying pie and donuts. (I really love donuts) I’ve also had most of my characters be voracious readers because I am.

Amanda Flower: Well, my first protagonist India Hayes is an academic librarian at a small liberal arts college near Cleveland, and I’m an academic librarian at a small liberal arts college near Cleveland. Strange, right? And in the Appleseed Creek Mysteries, Chloe Humphrey is twenty-four and moves with her cat to Amish Country. Oddly, I moved to Amish Country with my cat when I was twenty-four. How weird are those coincidences?

Amy Clipston: Since my husband has had two kidney transplants, I featured a liver transplant in my book A Place of Peace. My memoir, A Gift of Love, which details my husband’s kidney transplants and my kidney donation, will be available in March. Also, my father had a massive stroke, and I feature a character who is a stroke victim in my novella A Spoonful of Love.

Jennifer Beckstrand: They say that art imitates life, which in my case means: I’ve never been shy about putting my most embarrassing moments on paper.

Anna Helmuth, the feisty eighty-two-year-old Amish grandmother in Huckleberry Hill, loves to knit and cook. Even after sixty years of cooking for her family, Anna likes to pull out her new recipe book and experiment with a recipe she’s never tried before. Anna has many talents, but cooking is not one of them. In fact, she has a well-earned reputation for being the worst cook in Bonduel, Wisconsin. I’m not saying that I am as bad a cook as Anna, but my life definitely provided some inspiration for the character.

Several months ago, my husband and I hosted some friends for dinner, and I broke the first rule of entertaining: Never try out a new recipe on dinner guests. I wanted to make something new and exciting to serve my guests, and the reviews for “Sweet and Sour Meatballs” sounded positively delicious. Trouble came with the cryptic ingredient called “chili sauce.” I bought a quart of the most likely chili sauce I could find and dumped it into the crockpot with my meatballs. As dinnertime approached, I tested my bright orange meatballs and realized that my concoction was going to be a tad spicy. Okay, mouth-on-fire spicy. Inedibly spicy. In desperation, I poured a pint of whipping cream into the crockpot because dairy is supposed to cool spicy food. It didn’t even make a dent and added about a thousand calories to my shame. I was forced to serve the meatballs-from-heck to my friends, who didn’t complain but didn’t eat much either. I take comfort in the fact that those meatballs certainly looked lovely served over noodles. A version of this story appears in Huckleberry Hill. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Amy Lillard: My latest release, Gabriel’s Bride, has several personal experiences in it, though I borrowed them from other people. What does that make them…? Second hand personal experiences? J Though I have to admit Rachel Yoder is more like me than I care to examine.

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

Amy Lillard: http://amywritesromance.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Amy-Lillard-Author/177732292332322

 

We have a winner of Miriam’s Quilt

Good Monday morning, readers,

The sun is shining in Ohio and it’s not snowing! So all is well. Without further ado, Elaine Panfill, come on down!! You’re the winner of Miriam’s Quilt by Jennifer Beckstand from last week’s contest. Elaine, you’re in for a great read! And it you haven’t done so, drop by Jennifer’s website for more chances to win Amish fiction. And don’t forget about my contest…I’m giving away 10 copies of Love Comes to Paradise to my newsletter subscribers on March 15th. That will be here before we know it.

This week I’m hard at work on A Plain Man, which picks up the story where Sarah’s Christmas Miracle leaves off. On Sunday I’m attending a maple sugar hands-on demonstration to make sure my story research is correct. The Internet only provides so much, then a writer needs to jump in her car to see the real thing. Besides, a pancake breakfast, swimming in maple syrup, is part of the demonstration. And you sure can’t get that from a computer!

Before I forget, if we have any new or want-to-be writers out there…I posted on a fellow writer’s blog about how I got published. Drop by Tamera Kraft’s blog for the full story: http://wordsharpeners.wordpress.com/2013/03/04/mary-ellis-my-journey-to-publication/

Have a lovely week, readers. Stay warm.

Welcome author Jennifer Beckstrand

Good Monday morning, readers. Home Thoughts would like to welcome author, Jennifer Beckstrand.jennifer 4

Jennifer Beckstrand is a member of Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers and is represented by Mary Sue Seymour of The Seymour Agency. She has a degree in mathematics and a background in editing. Her first three Amish romances comprise the Forever After in Apple Lake Series (Summerside/Guideposts). Kate’s Song, Rebecca’s Rose, and Miriam’s Quilt are all now available in stores and online. She recently signed with Kensington Books to write three more Amish romances. The first will be out in early 2014. These books are set in Wisconsin in a charming place called Huckleberry Hill. Jennifer has four daughters, two sons, three sons-in-law, and one adorable grandson. She lives in the foothills of the Wasatch Front with her husband and two sons still left at home.

Tell us a little about your latest book, Miriam’s Quilt: Miriam Bontrager has loved Ephraim Neuenschwander for as long as she can remember. As young teenagers, they make a secret pact to wed when they come of age. But when Miriam’s headstrong brother is arrested and her sister is discovered with child, Ephraim decides that Miriam, with her disgraced family ties, is not worthy of him. Heartbroken and shattered, Miriam vows to never again trust her affection to anyone. But will she surrender her heart when a man of simple faith and gentle ways shows her how to love again?

Of course Seth Lambright thinks Miriam Bontrager is pretty, but she’s also too stuck-up to pay him any notice. That is, until she comes to his stable after Ephraim’s devastating rejection. Spending time with Seth’s horses gives Miriam comfort and helps her mend, but her presence nudges Seth dangerously close to falling in love. Unable to ignore the way she tugs at his heart, will he risk everything to show her that there is more to love than the pain of bitter memories?Miriam's Quilt Cover

Miriam’s Quilt is now available in stores and online. Miriam’s Quilt received a Four-Star review in Romantic Times Book Reviews.

For fans of Amish fiction, what are you working on now that readers can look forward to?

I’m so glad you asked! I just signed with Kensington Books to write three more Amish romances. The first will be out in early 2014. The series, The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill, is about an elderly Amish couple who try to find suitable mates for their grandchildren. What could be more fun than throwing two young people together to see if sparks ignite? And no one would ever suspect two octogenarian Amish folks of mischief.

Where can readers find you? You can find me on Facebook at Jennifer Beckstrand Fans or on my website at http://www.jenniferbeckstrand.com/ 

In celebration of the release of Miriam’s Quilt, Book 3 in Forever After in Apple Lake, my dear sister, Allison Sharp, editor, Phd., and quilter extraordinaire, is making a small version of the quilt that Miriam makes for Seth in the book. It is wall-hanging size. The quilt is first prize in the contest.

Second prize is all three of my books in the Forever After in Apple Lake series.

Third prize is Book 3–Miriam’s Quilt.

To enter the contest, simply “like” my facebook fan page: Jennifer Beckstrand Fans. That’s it! Everyone who likes my page will be entered in the contest. If you “share” my page, your name will be entered twice. If you already like my page, you are automatically entered! Contest ends on March 8, 2013 and winners will be announced March 7.

Question to Home Thoughts readers: In Miriam’s Quilt, Seth tells Miriam, “People are always more important than what they’ve done.” How have you seen and applied this truth in your own life?

Please post a comment HERE on this blog to be entered in a drawing for Miriam’s Quilt. Drawing will be next Monday, March 4th. And don’t foget to “like” Jennifer’s Facebook page for more great chances to win. Have a great week, readers.

We have a winner of Rebecca’s Rose, folks….

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!

Help me welcome an Amish fiction author & win a free book

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!