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.

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!