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:


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:


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


Sweetest Day is almost here

Good Monday, readers. According to my calendar, this Saturday is Sweetest Day. And to honor the occassion here is an essay I wrote on romance. (And you thought I knew nothing about the stuff!) But before I dish up my essay, here are the two winners of Healing Love by Laura Hilton, from my contest last week. Yes, I drew two since so many folks entered: Chris Granville and Angelica–please email me with your mailing addresses. Your our two lucky winners this week! Now, here’s my essay:

Gourmets and cooking-show fanatics will cluck their tongues and shake their heads at this post, but I must share the story of the first dinner I cooked for my boyfriend (now my husband of 38 years). We were sophomores in college and had only been dating for several months. Yet, somehow we both knew this was the one. Keep in mind, any time my mom had tried to teach me to cook I would run in the other direction. Even chemistry homework appealed more than anything in the kitchen. So when Ken asked me to fix him dinner at his home over Christmas vacation, what did I say? Sure, why not? After all, how hard could it be? I packed all the ingredients and purchases from grocery store into my Corvair and drove to his house. The rest of his family would be out for most of the evening. Did I take a cookbook? Of course not, since my mother didn’t own one. She’d learned everything from Grandma Ellis who didn’t speak a word of English. Ken chose fried chicken and potato salad as his favorite meal. I added iceburg lettuce with bottled dressing and green beans straight from the can—no butter or seasoning whatsoever—to round out our culinary fare. I breaded and fried the chicken, then kept turning the pieces over in the skillet until I set off the smoke alarms. After all, I had no idea when they might be done. But the extra crispy chicken turned out far superior to my potato salad. Since I had no idea when peeled and diced potatoes might be cooked, the finished salad resembled mashed spuds studded with tiny pieces of celery, onion and hard-boiled eggs. Ken loved my dinner. He not only cleaned his plate but raved about everything. Not surprisingly, you say? Probably not…after all I was a cute-as-a-bug nineteen-year-old, and he was enchanted with me. But here’s the best part: When his parents returned from the movies and his older sister from her date, they all grabbed plates and began to eat up the leftovers. They raved about my cooking, too. In fact, my late mother-in-law’s exact words were: Oh, my, Ken. “You’d better not let this one get away. A girl who cooks like this is a keeper.”

I went home that night loving his family and thinking I was a good cook. It would be some time before I found out I stunk in the kitchen. But Ken proposed that Christmas and we marred six days after our college graduation. I still miss my mom and my mother-in-law. They both taught me unconditional love is far more important than anything that goes into your stomach. Before she passed away, my mom did teach me to cook during our first years of marriage. But every now and then I still set off smoke alarms…just for old times’ sake.

Have a super duper week, readers.

~with love from Mary Ellis


Win a free copy of Laura Hilton’s Healing Love

Good Monday morning, readers. Without further ado, here are the 2 winners of Vannetta Chapman’s A Promise for Miriam. Yes, two, since there were so many comments, I will send off my copy too. Mrs. Red 50 and Anna Hamilton please contact me at maryeellis@yahoo.com Your’re our lucky winners!

Today I’m honored to welcome fellow Amish fiction author, Laura Hilton. Laura’s last series, The Amish of Seymour, were all CBD bestsellers. Her latest, Healing Love, is first in the Amish of Webster Couny series. I have read it and it’s lovely!

Here’s the blurb: Life gets a lot harder for Amish midwife Kristi Lapp when a buggy wreck lands her in the hospital and leaves her with a pronounced limp. Among her biggest concerns is the well-being of her dog, Chinook, as she is no longer able to keep up with the high-energy Siberian husky. Adding insult to injury, she fears she’ll never marry for love, for what man would willingly wed a woman who needs help with even the most basic of household tasks? Shane Zimmerman moved to Seymour for a fresh start. The veterinarian is still reeling from the loss of his young wife, who died in childbirth—an aneurysm, the autopsy determined, but he still blames the midwife and the herbal remedies she administered. He meets his next-door neighbor, Kristi, when he discovers her wrecked buggy and takes her to the hospital. Eager to deepen the friendship that forms between them, he offers to take care of exercising her dog. But the harsh words of Kristi’s father discourage him from pursuing a relationship further—for the time being. Shane isn’t Amish, although his grandparents were, and Ira Lapp would rather his daughter marry an aging Amish widower than a young Englischer. Despite all the forces that would keep them apart, Kristi and Shane can’t deny the strong attraction between them.

So, their on-again, off-again relationship persists, as Kristi submits to physical therapy for her leg and Shane reevaluates his reasons for being Englisch. But will they find a way to stay together? Or are their differences too divisive to resolve?
 Healing Love by  Laura V. Hilton
Laura is a home-schooling mom and a super writer. She and her family make their home in Arkansas, close to Missouri’s Amish communities. I had the chance to visit Missouri’s Old Order Amish last summer to research Love Comes to Paradise.
Here’s a chance to win a copy of Laura’s Healing Love.  Just post a comment about your personal favorite state to visit!
Post right here on this blog. Thanks, readers, and enjoy these opening weeks of autumn. Leaves are changing like mad here in Ohio.

Review and chance to win free book

Good Wednesday morning, readers,

Today I am featured on Amish fiction author, Laura Hilton’s, blog. Laura has interviewed me regarding my research in Maine for my recent book, Living in Harmony. She also reviewed the book at the end of the interview. And here’s the best part, Laura is giving away a signed copy of Living in Harmony to one lucky commenter. Just answer the following question and leave your email address. Drawing will be held in one week. Thanks for dropping by. Here’s the link:


Did you ever move away and start over during a difficult time in your life?

Laura has a new book coming out soon…Healing Hearts. My review and interview to come…stay tuned. Happy August everyone. Isn’t these what they call the dog-days-of-summer?


The winner of last week’s drawing and a new guest

Good Tuesday morning, readers. You probably thought I forgot to announce the winner, no? Actually, I’ve been buried trying to finish Love Comes to Harmony, part 2 of my New Beginings series. Hooray, it’s done except for a proofreading and the recipes. Without further ado, our winner of Promised to Another, part 3 of The Amish of Seymour series by Laura Hilton is Jane Squires! Congrats, Jane, I’m sending Laura your e-mail address. She will contact you to about your free signed copy. Thanks to everyone who entered the drawing.

No romantic fiction to offer this week. Today I’m honored to showcase Cynthia Simmons who wrote a self-help devotional book for those who struggle with some of life’s most difficult issues. She has a new companion study guide. Here’s more about Cynthia’s book, Struggles and Triumphs: What’s wrong with our world? Shouldn’t a God who claims to be all powerful and flawless prevent suffering? How can we continue to believe when storms rage on in our lives? If you’ve ever had tough questions like these Struggles and Triumphs Study Guide is the book for you. Author Cynthia L. Simmons will guide you toward answers with her unique and enlightening approach. Her twelve-week Bible study for ladies comes from stories of real women as told in Struggles and Triumphs: Women in History Who Overcame. As you study, you’ll come to understand God’s perspective on timeless issues that impact your life. The carefully chosen Scriptures combined with interesting historical information will challenge and encourage you.

Cynthia was born in Chattanooga, TN. Her parents named her Cynthia Lynn so that she’d have the same initials as her father, C.L. Thomas. At six she professed faith in Jesus Christ. She graduated from Tennessee Temple High School as Class Salutatorian. In 2004 she joined Christian Authors Guild (CAG) and has served as chaplain, conference director, vice president and president. Members awarded her Lifetime Membership in 2009. Cynthia’s writing appeared in CAG publications, NATHHAN NEWS, Chattanooga Regional Historical Magazine, Georgia Right to Life Newsletter, Chattanooga Times Free Press, Catholic Exchange, and Christian Devotions. us. Her first book, Struggles and Triumphs came out in 2008. While promoting her book, she had interviews on radio and TV across the nation, and was nominated for 2008 Georgia Author of the year.
Please leave a comment for Cynthia for a chance to win a free copy of Struggles & Triumphs, a book we all need at some point in our lives.
Have a lovely week, readers. It’s raining in Ohio and that’s fine with me…I just planted my tomatos. Spring has sprung and I’m one happy camper!

Home Thoughts Welcomes Laura Hilton

Good Friday morning, readers! Today before I head on down to Holmes County for a book-signing I wanted to tell you about a great book I finished reading called Promised to Another by Laura Hilton. Laura is a super writer friend who lives in Arkansas and writes Amish Fiction, same as yours truly. Although Promised to Another is book 3 of the Amish of Seymour series, it “stands alone” just fine in case you haven’t read the first two. (book one: Patchwork Dreams, book two: Harvest of Hearts). This is a beautifully written story about a “love triangle”-my personal favorite in romances. I’d rate the book 5-stars! here’s the blurb:

Annie Beiler is an Amish school teacher. She was in love with an Amish man, Luke Stultz, but Luke left the Amish community during his rumspringa, but not without begging Annie to go with him. Now Luke is back, trying to win back Annie’s love. Joshua Esh may be Amish, but he has been bitten by the travel bug. He sees the opportunity to relocate fromPennsylvaniatoMissourias a way to satisfy his longing to see another place yet remain with people of his faith. Josh quickly notices the beautiful Annie, but Annie is slow to respond. With Luke in the picture, and Josh’s admission that he willingly left his district, will either man be steady and dependable enough to win the gift of Annie’s heart?

If you’d like a chance to win a free copy of Promised to Another, Laura has one little question for you to answer. Her hero, Josh, kept a big secret that came back to “bite” him.  Post your answer and you’ll be entered to win a free copy. Drawing will be in one week, Friday May 4th. here’s the question: Have you ever kept a secret from someone and had it come back to “bite” you?

Now I’m off the Good Shepherd bookstore in Berlin, Ohio for a book signing at 11:00. anybody in Amish Country today? stop in and say hello. on Saturday I’ll be at the Carlisle Inn in beautiful Sugar Creek. ahhhh spring in Holmes County…what could be finer?

Dont’ forget to post a comment to be entered to win Laura’s book and happy reading!!

Visit Laura’s blog at: http://lighthouse-academy.blogspot.com/


My review of Harvest of Hearts by Laura Hilton

It’s truly my pleasure to feature another Amish author on my blog. I just finished Harvest of Hearts by Laura V. Hilton and found it to be a fast-paced follow-up to her debut, Patchwork Dreams. In this delightful second of the series, kindhearted Matthew Yoder participates in a swap of Amish men. He leaves the farmland of Lancaster County behind for new opportunites awaiting him in Missouri. But meeting Shanna, a nursing student home on summer vacation, offers more complications than he bargained for. Shanna left her Old Order Amish community during rumschpringe, vowing never to return. Still strong-minded and independent, Shanna plans only to save money and return to college in the fall. But her love of family and faith in God inexorably draws her back into the fold. Laura Hilton has created characters that leap off the page. Her scenes offer vivid imagry, allowing us to escape into the wholesome world of the Amish. I thoroughly enjoyed Harvest of Hearts, which will be released next month, and look forward to book three in Hilton’s Amish of Seymour series.

Here’s something about the author: Laura Hilton, her husband, Steve, and their five children make their home in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas. She is a pastor’s wife, a stay-at-home mom and home-schools three of her children. Her two oldest children are homeschool graduates and are in college.  Laura is also a breast cancer survivor. Her publishing credits include Hot Chocolate and Shadows of the Past from Treble Heart Books; a devotional in a compilation from Zondervan; and the first book “Patchwork Dreams” in her Amish of Seymour series from Whitaker House released in April 2011, the second book, “A Harvest of Hearts” in September 2011, and Promised to Another in April 2012. Laura has her business degree from Ozarka and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Laura is a professional book reviewer for the Christian market, with over a thousand book reviews published at various online review sites.

Please leave a comment for Laura, for a chance to win a free copy of Harvest of Hearts. Many blessings and have a great week!