Thursday, August 16, 2018

Amish Christmas Secrets

By Debby Giusti

The end of a series is always bittersweet. Amish Christmas Secrets, the fourth and final book in my Amish Protectors series, comes out in October. Although I’m eager to see how readers like the story, I’ve become attached to my characters and hate to let them go.

Over the past few months, I’ve written Amish Safe House, book 2 in the new Amish Witness Protection continuity from Love Inspired Books, which will be out in early 2019. I’ve also been working on a new proposal. Still, a part of me wants to return to the characters I’ve grown to love, especially Rosie Glick, the surprise heroine in Amish Christmas Secrets.

Two years ago, I submitted the proposal for the Amish Protectors series as a three book deal, featuring three sisters, each with her own story.  When my editor added a fourth book to the contract, Rosie started to make herself known. The sheriff in the first book, Amish Refuge, mentioned her—quite unexpectedly. Rosie made another surprise visit in Undercover Amish. By the third story, Amish Rescue, Rosie was demanding her own book.

I like Rosie Glick. She’s strong and determined. Plus, she’s an unwed mom who will do anything to protect her baby. She’s also one of my favorite characters.

Do you get attached to the characters in a series? Do you have a favorite character from a Love Inspired story you’ve either read or written?

Happy writing! Happy reading!

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti

By Debby Giusti

Safe Haven for the Holidays
The thrilling Amish Protectors conclusion.
Leaving the nursing home where she works, Rosie Glick’s accosted
by a man demanding incriminating evidence her murdered boyfriend
stole—until Ezra Stoltz scares him off. Now with a killer dead set on
silencing the Amish single mother, Ezra must hide Rosie and her baby
to keep them safe. But can he expose a sinister conspiracy in time
to save the woman he secretly loves?

Pre-order Amish Christmas Secrets here!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Growing Pains

In summers past, I've purposely tried really hard not to have any book deadlines so I can focus on our son. This picture was from last spring. Last summer, I did have a deadline. I stayed up until all hours to write and spent as much time with him during the day as he'd allow. I'm so glad I did.

This year, he's 16, 6'1", working, and driving. I didn't have a book deadline, but it didn't matter because my baby has been gone most of the time. Swimming has always been our thing. We have an above ground pool and my husband doesn't like to swim. Logan and I have had some of our best conversations in the pool. 

I knew eventually he'd get too old to swim with mom. It finally happened. I only talked him into swimming with me once this year. So far. It's still hot here and I haven't given up. With my birthday coming up, I think I'll tell him I want a swim as my present.

School started Monday and I'm home alone during the day again. My only baby is a junior. Where did the time go. Before we know it, he'll be gone. We've decided that once he does move out, if he ever gets to where he doesn't come home, we're going to get a built in pool and build a cabin in the woods. Incentives for him to come see us.

So tell me about your kids. Do you still have any at home? If they're grown and gone, do they live near, do they come home often, or does it take incentives?

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Amish Words of Wisdom + A Giveaway!

with Meghan Carver

One of the most loved books of the Bible is Proverbs. It’s full of little gold nuggets of wisdom ~ wisdom that could fill many, many books but is condensed into a handful of easy-to-remember pithy sayings.

The beauty of proverbs, or sayings, is that they tell us more about the values of those people who value those particular sayings. 

The language of the Amish is Pennsylvania German, an oral language. It does not have written words. It seems to me that this makes their cherished proverbs even more valuable since they are handed down through the generations as part of an oral tradition. This oral tradition then helps to maintain the cohesiveness of the community.

In my research on the Amish, I found a wonderful little book by Suzanne Woods Fisher ~ Amish Proverbs: Words of Wisdom from the Simple Life.  

The chapters are organized by virtues and include Time, Money, Faith, In Word & Deed, Work Ethic, Handling Adversity, Education, Community, Character, and Just for Fun.

Here’s a sampling ~~~

“To stay youthful, stay useful.” (p. 20)
“One thing you can learn by watching the clock is that it passes time by keeping its hands busy.” (p. 21)
“Things that steal our time are usually the easiest to do.” (p. 25)
“The debt that is paid is best.” (p. 31)
“An industrious wife is the best savings account.” (p. 32)
“Walk softly, speak tenderly, and pray fervently.” (p. 44)
“Do not ask the Lord to guide your footsteps if you are not willing to move your feet.” (p. 47)
“The right temperature at home is maintained by warm hearts, not hot heads.” (p. 60)
“An unkind remark is like a killing frost—no matter how much it warms up, the damage is already done.” (p. 67)
“The soundness of your ideas is more important than the sound of your words.” (p. 81)
“The trouble with doing nothing is it’s too hard to tell when you’re finished.” (p. 85)
“You’re never too old to learn.” (p. 108)
“If you won’t admit you’ve been wrong, you love yourself more than truth.” (p. 121)
“Apple butter, just like relationships, takes time to boil, time to cool, and time to turn out wonderfully.” (p. 122)
“Good character like good soup is usually homemade.” (p. 125)

“An honest cook serves her food with the burnt side up.” (p. 135)

There is so much wisdom in these sayings that I’ll be thinking on them for quite some time.

Which is your favorite?

Let’s end today’s post with a giveaway ~ one signed copy of my September release, Amish Country Amnesia!

Please leave a comment to be entered. US winners only. A winner will be chosen after midnight tonight.

Best wishes and many blessings!

~ Meghan

Monday, August 13, 2018

Allie Pleiter and the giant zucchini...

It's garden season, which means that certain bumper crops are showing up among friends and neighbors.  My husband and I were at a farm stand over the weekend buying sweet corn, and saw this:

A sign said: FREE

This was the smallest of the "Jumbo Zucchini" pile, and who can resist free garden produce?

So, today is the day I figure out what to do with this vegetable windfall. I've been given recipes for cheezy bites, lemon cake, lasagna, zucchini boats (or in this case, yachts), and of course making them into spaghetti noodles (also called "zoodles"). Even pickles--and keeping it by the door to defend myself against intruders--have been suggested.

This is certainly more than one meal's worth of zucchini. So chime in with your favorite uses/recipes!

By the way, I've got a new book out later this month that I hope you'll enjoy. It involves a whopping amount of snow--not zucchini--but the results are just as enjoyable!

Snowed in with the best man at a wedding weekend, florist Kelly Nelson can’t help but notice that the handsome widower seems overwhelmed raising his young daughter. So Kelly is delighted when her own daughter befriends the girl. But when the little matchmakers target Kelly and Bruce with an adorable Valentine’s Day plot, will the reluctant single parents give love a second chance?

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Sunday Scripture

Holy Trinity, Szymon Czechowicz, 1756-58,
Lithuanian Art Museum. [PD-US]

Brothers and sisters:
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God,
with which you were sealed for the day of redemption. 
All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling
must be removed from you, along with all malice. 
And be kind to one another, compassionate,
forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.

So be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love,
as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us
as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma.
Ephesians 4:30 - 5:2

If you have any prayer needs, please mention them in the comments section so we can join you in prayer. You do not need to include specific names or situations of a private nature, just say that you have a prayer request. The Lord knows your heart and the needs you have. It is a privilege and honor to pray with you and for you.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

New for August from Our Love Inspired Suspense Authors

Jean C. Gordon here with four new must buys from our Love Inspired Suspense authors. Just click on a cover to purchase it. And to learn more about Margaret, Dana, Virginia,and Lenora , click on their names. Baby Pursuit
by Margaret Daley 

On a kidnapper’s trail…
Lone Star Justice never fails

Minutes after his baby nephew is kidnapped, Texas Ranger Dallas Sanders traces the crime to a child trafficking ring hiding in plain sight. As he and local sheriff Rachel Young race to expose the sinister conspiracy, they’re determined to keep their relationship professional. But when Rachel’s infant daughter is also abducted, can she and Dallas rescue the children in time…and survive to have a future together?
Amish Country Ambush
by Dana R. Lynn 

Hidden in Plain Sight
An Amish Country Justice story

After police dispatcher Elise St. Clair’s home is invaded by her murderous brother-in-law, her nephew is hidden in Amish Country by her cleaning lady. Now relying on police officer Ryan Parker is Elise’s only hope of reuniting with the child…and evading the killer. And Elise and Ryan quickly discover their temporary partnership has long-term potential—if they can stay alive. Case Cover-up
by Virginia Vaughan 

She’ll risk everything to uncover her past
The first thrilling Covert Operatives tale

An infant is believed to have been murdered thirty years ago—but investigative journalist Dana Lang is convinced she’s that baby. Now someone’s willing to kill to stop her investigation. And only secretive deputy Quinn Dawson, whose grandfather may have faked Dana’s death to protect her, can keep her safe. But a killer’s dead set on burying the past—and them—for good.

Amazon | B&N | Harlequin | Kobo | Google Play | iBooks
Rescue Operation

Racing to rescue a child  
Danger heats up in the Military K-9 Unit series
A little boy is missing, and it’s up to search-and-rescue K-9 handler Ava Esposito and her dog to find him…before the Red Rose Killer does. FBI special agent Oliver Davison is hot on the trail of the escaped convict and joins forces with Ava. But when the killer turns his crosshairs on them, Oliver must protect them all before time runs out.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Researching the Amish -- Vannetta Chapman

Amish garden, Shipshewana, Indiana
One of the most frequent questions I’m asked is “How did you become interested in the Amish?” Since I’m new to Love Inspired, I thought it would be fun to share that story here.

My first agent was Mary Sue Seymour. I had written several books, and she’d pitched them to publishers. We always ended up in the top 3 books they were considering, and then they’d pass. I couldn’t figure out what was going on!

Finally Mary Sue wrote me an email and told me that I should write an Amish book. This was in 2009, and there were a lot of Amish books coming out--even more than now. She had publishers calling her asking for more Amish! I thought about it a few minutes and then told her “No.” I was so afraid to tell my agent no, but as I explained to her, we have no large Amish communities in Texas, only a very small one in Beeville and they don’t even have a store to visit. I’d never met an Amish person!
Amish school, Cashton, Wisconsin

Mary Sue wrote me back and said she understood. Then she wrote me another email, this one quite long, explaining that I could learn, research, visit, and then write that book. I prayed and fumed and worried and tossed and turned that night, and then finally I decided that if she was going to be my agent I should accept her advice--so I said “Yes!” That was the 9th book I’d written, and the first book we sold. Abingdon Press bought it, and A Simple Amish Christmas released in 2010 and was a huge success.

Since then I’ve published 4 novellas and 16 Amish books (romances and mysteries), including my most recent with Love Inspired, A Widow’s Hope. My husband and I have visited a lot of Amish communities in the last 9 years--communities in Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Oklahoma. I’ve met a lot of Amish folks, and I feel fortunate to count them as my friends. I’ve learned a lot, and I’m so glad that Mary Sue pushed me beyond my comfort zone.

What about you? Have you ever done something that scared you just a little and then changed your life in some way? I certainly never saw myself becoming an Amish author! (PS--I would love you to stop by my webpage and look around. You can do so here or follow me on Facebook here.)

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Calling All Volunteers — Jean C. Gordon

No, I don't have a project I want your help with. Rather, I thought it would be fun to hear what kind of volunteer activities the Love Inspired Ladies and readers are involved in. For my self, I volunteer Tuesday and Saturday mornings at the Book Nook at our church (and other random hours sorting and shelving books). This week we are deep in getting ready for one of our semi-annual "Huge" Sales.

Our Book Nook was started by a lovely woman named Joy (who is a joy) to help the church with heating costs about ten years ago when fuel oil costs spiked. It sells donated books of all kinds, puzzles, DVDs, CDs, record albums, and VHS tapes for a $1 or less. (All Bibles are free.) 

But the Book Nook has evolved into so much more. It's a gathering place to share a cup of coffee and baked goods, as well as fellowship, with people in our community.  And a way to promote reading and literacy.

For instance we:
  • Invite teachers to come and pick out 20 free books for their classrooms
  • Give every child/student infant to college student one free book each time they visit
  • Encourage college students to check us out for books they may need for literature classes
  • Send books to service members serving overseas through our local VFW. (Sadly, we're discouraged from including romance books.)
My husband Mark and me at the
Friendship Festival last year

  • Have provided books to a prison ministry
  • Offer children's books free for the taking at our church's Evangelism Committee table at our community's annual Friendship Festival each August, along with cold water
  • Make free books available at our elementary school's book sales for children who don't have money to buy new books at the sales. So, they don't feel left out.
And last fall, one of the other volunteers took a box of books to hand out to trick or treaters along with a candy treat.

While the Book Nook can be hard work, it's also very rewarding, and our core group of volunteers, along with some of our regular patrons, have all become good friends.

Who's next?

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Paris in springtime, Shakespeare & Company....research is just so fun! ---Roxanne Rustand

My daughter and I went to Paris in May--my treat, but she had to do the planning, as I was busy with a book deadline and couldn't let myself concentrate on anything else.   I'm so thankful for her hard work

She made list after list, developed an Excel spreadsheet, and ultimately had our two weeks planned by the hour.

Of course, we didn't exactly adhere to The Plan, but it gave us a great structure so that we could make good use of every single day.  If I'd gone alone I would have wandered around missing everything that proved to be a great memory!

The photo of the Eiffel Tower was taken during our dinner cruise on the Seine.

As a writer, I was fascinated with the Shakespeare & Company bookstore, which is on the Left Bank very close to Notre Dame. The store began in 1919 in a  different location, was closed during the Nazi occupation and is now a booklovers dream--crowded, twisting aisles through towering bookshelves, little hide-aways with  easy chairs tucked here and there, charming signs posted in unexpected places, like "Be not inhospitable to strangers, lest they be angels in disguise."  And, of course, there are the bookstore cats.

The most fascinating part of the store's history to me are the "Tumbleweeds," the writers who have come and gone through the decades. For generations, writers wandering into Paris have been welcomed to stay in the shop for free, sleeping in random cots throughout the store, if they would work in the store two hours a day, promise to read a book each day, and also promise to write for however long they stayed.

The other requirement is that they type a one-page biography, and now the store literally has thousand of these--many from illustrious writers of days gone by, such as  Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jack Kerouac and Anais Nin--to name just a very few. And still, many avid writers both young and old who have yet to make their mark are welcomed to stay. What a fascinating tradition!  My big regret is that this store was on our itinerary and I enjoyed seeing it, but I had no idea of the depth of its history until my curiosity was spurred and I looked it up online after we got home.  I am completely frustrated this morning, by the way---I cannot find the photos I took of the bookstore!  I've looked, and looked....but finally had to get this blog posted. are the Eiffel tower,  some beautiful stained glass (I believe this is from Notre Dame, and just part of the gardens at Versailles. Our tour guide said that all of those trees you see in the garden are actually on little platforms with wheels, so they can be wheeled into a vast storage area (right under my feet, from where  I took the photo) for protection in the winter!

Our travels were fun, and I used them as research for a new novella, Christmas in Paris, which is part of the new Sweet Christmas Kisses  anthology, which is now available for pre-sale on Amazon for just 99 cents!

Best wishes to you all,
Roxanne Rustand

Tuesday, August 7, 2018


😎The Glamorous Life of a "Famous" Author 

by Valerie Hansen

Ah, yes, the secret life of a published author. Who wouldn't want to step into those famous shoes? Why, she must live in a mansion with servants and a cook and a limo driver that looks like those models on the book covers. Hahahahahaha!

If those things were what God thought I needed to do my job and write about my Christian faith, I have no doubt He would have given them to me. But I don't. And my life in the rural Ozarks is so blessed, so wonderful, it sometimes takes my breath away. So does spring pollen but that's another story! 😜 As long as I don't run out of allergy medicine or bug repellent I'll be fine right here.

This is my desk and the place where I work. I used to write in longhand then type my manuscripts on a borrowed typewriter! Even after I finally switched to a computer I had it sitting on a sewing table and spread out the pages on my ironing board. (Why not? I never ironed!) My hubby finally insisted I needed a real desk and bought me this one. I love it! And it holds a lot more stuff than an ironing board.😄

Do I have a cook? Nope. And since I had not been practicing my culinary skills in years, when I suddenly had to start feeding myself it was quite an adventure. Note the paper plate? I don't have a dishwasher, either. I know, I know, there goes your image of my ultra glamorous life. I confess to blowing up the potato in my microwave. I had pierced it for the oven but when it wasn't done on time, I stuck it in to nuke it. How was I to know it had "healed over" in the oven?!

Life for me is one grand adventure after another, from a well failure in the middle of a winter storm, to being stranded by high water, to finding a neighbor's cows in my flowerbeds, to deciding I needed a third dog and choosing a puppy, (what was I thinking?) to running over a piece of sharp metal and killing 2 tires at the same time, to deciding to pressure wash my house myself and powering the painted layer off the disintegrating siding, to learning to mow the lawn on a zero-turn machine and running into a fence post that tweaked the deck out of alignment, to... Well, you get the idea.

I love my life. I love the place where God has planted me. I love the books I am still being asked to write on a regular basis. And I love and trust the Lord. What more could anyone ask? I have reissued books coming soon, then a new K-9 Christmas story for Dec. These are the covers. Bless you all and may you find the divine joy that underlies even the most difficult days.